Written by David Lindsay-Abaire
Directed by Iain Softley
Running Time: 1:46
for fantasy adventure action,
some scary moments and brief language.
Inkheart was a fun movie but one that had a little too much going on and a story that was a bit nonsensical.
In this world there are people known as "Silvertongues" - people who, when they read from books, can bring characters into the real world. Mo happens to be one of these Silvertongues but he doesn't realize it until one day, while reading from the book 'Inkheart' he accidentally brings a host of bad guys into our world. The other side to this tale is that when someone from a book is brought into our world, someone from our world enters the book. 9 years later, Mo has been searching the world, with his daughter Meggie, looking for another copy of 'Inkheart' so that he can read his wife back into his life. But the characters he let out have other ideas. Lead by the evil Capricorn, they want Mo to bring an even greater evil into the world so that Capricorn can take control of the planet.
There is an idea in Inkheart that has potential but the whole bringing characters back and forth from books is a bit problematic and that lessened my enjoyment of the movie. So they say from the beginning that if you are a Silvertongue and you read, when you bring someone into the world, someone must the enter the book. When Mo reads and brings Capricorn into the world, Mo's wife takes his place. Except that Capricorn comes with 2 other people, yet only Mo's wife disappears, not his kid. There wasn't a reason given for that. Later in a couple of instances Mo reads and there is a one-for-one swap. Another problem is, what exactly happens in these book universes? If a character in the book is removed, does the story in the book change? If another character replaces them, what happens to them? I felt like I was only seeing half a story. I can easily see the changes in our world, but I wanted to know what happened in the book.
All that being said, while I had problems with the overarching story, I did enjoy what I saw. I've always been a big fan of Brendan Fraser in these kinds of action-adventure roles. He's got a very goofy/likeable personality that works well in these movies. Paul Bettany had a large role as one of the book characters brought to life and there was a lot of dark humor that I found funny but my audience didn't seem to care for or understand. Eliza Bennett was a joy as Mo's daughter. She's only been in a couple of other films but she really held her own and I foresee a good career ahead for her. Helen Mirren felt out of place in the movie and I wish her role had gone to a more eccentric actress. And Andy Serkis, here without the help of computer effects, was an evil enough villain to hold the movie together.
When I said the movie had too much going I meant that there were a lot of small stories circling at the same time. The visuals in the film are very impressive with the sets and action sequences, so adding in more and more story elements was unnecessary. The movie is extremely well done visually and could hold its own with the big guns in the fantasy film world. It's the story that doesn't hold up as well with different rules and ideas floating around. The end sequence again didn't make a lot of sense because the climax involves reading something not out of a book, but what was simply just written. It seems like an end run around the whole idea behind the movie. If it was that easy why not just write a short story that says 'my wife, who was taken into another book, miraculously reappears and we all live happily ever after'? Wouldn't that solve everyone's problems? The movie also felt a tad too long. It clocks in at just over 100 minutes, which is a decent length, but there were dead spots that could have been paved over without ruining the movie. The film is based on a popular book which happens to have two sequels. I don't think this one will make enough money to warrant a film sequel which is sad because there is definitely potential there.
The DVD has one extra... One! Eliza Bennett, who plays the daughter in the film, sits on a couch and reads a segment from the book which wasn't in the film. And interspersed with shots of her are some pencil drawings. And that's it... it lasts under four minutes. I don't understand why they even bothered to put that on there. I mean, it's a nice extra, but to be the only one on the entire DVD? Considering the film is based on a popular book series and has a lot of special effects, you'd think there could have been a suite of extras, but no... just the one. I was very disappointed.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I liked Inkheart but I felt like there were plot points and elements of the story that didn't make a lot of sense. If you can get over thinking too much it's a fairly fun family adventure film.
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