MOVIE: *** (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: *1/2 (out of 5 stars)
Brendan Fraser as MO FOLCHART
Paul Bettany as DUSTFINGER
Helen Mirren as ELINOR LOREDAN
Jim Broadbent as FENOGLIO
Andy Serkis as CAPRICORN
Eliza Hope Bennett as MEGGIE FOLCHART
Rafi Gavron as FARID
Sienna Guillory as RESA FOLCHART
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Mo Folchart (Brendan Fraser) is an average guy with a magical power. As a Silvertongue, he can read a book and bring the characters literally to life. After accidentally sending his wife into the book “Inkheart” and releasing a group of criminals, Mo swears off reading aloud forever. When his daughter Meggie (Eliza Hope Bennett) is a teenager, Mo discovers a copy of “Inkheart,” and he is found by Dustfinger (Paul Bettany), one of the characters Mo brought to life years ago. However, while Mo just wants to bring his wife back to our world, he faces the evil Capricorn (Andy Serkis), who wants to take over the world and have Mo release the ultimate villain from “Inkheart.”
WHAT I LIKED
Ever since I was a young child, I have been fascinated with books and their stories. It’s part of the reason that I became a writer. Likewise, I have been fascinated by the fantasy concept of living within a book and literally bringing the characters to life. “Inkheart” tapped into that childhood fantasy of mine. And while it didn’t present this effectively perfect, it was still enjoyable from that angle.
As a movie, “Inkheart” didn’t translate perfectly to the screen, but it did offer some great elements of fantasy. The magical characters that emerge from the book are pretty wild, and Dustfinger is one of the best ones. In fact, both watching this film in the theater and on home video, I saw my six year old son furiously rubbing his hands together with the hope of harnessing Dustfinger’s power of the dragon’s breath. Here’s how this movie can harness the imagination of a child, and that is a wonderful thing.
While Brendan Fraser is his normal cheesy self, the supporting cast of this film helps hold things together. Bettany plays his role with a surprising amount of pathos, and Andy Serkis as the evil Capricorn makes the villain scenes worth watching.
I will admit that I enjoyed this film better on home video than I did in the theater, and that might have simply been because I knew what to expect from it.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
We all know this is a work of fiction because everyone knows that Brendan Fraser can’t read. I just in saying that, but this guy has never been my favorite action hero. He just can’t play blockbuster characters straight and always seems to come across with a cheeky performance. Fortunately for him, he’s balanced in this film by greater actors like the aforementioned Bettany and Serkis, as well as Helen Mirren and the quite capable Eliza Hope Bennett.
The fantasy elements sometime come a little too late, and the story is ultimately very predictable – and at times seems forced that the solutions to many problems haven’t been tried before. However, on the smaller screen with less hype, “Inkheart” seems a little more balanced.
The DVD comes with both the widescreen and full screen versions of the film. It also includes a special feature in which Eliza Hope Bennett reads a passage from the original book not included in the film. This segment is illustrated with sketches by the book’s author Cornelia Funke, who also provides an introduction to the feature.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Fans of adventures via book proxy and Brendan Fraser.