Book 'Em, Mo!
Be careful when reading aloud. You might have a secret talent to make the characters and situations you read about come to life. That’s the magical ability explored in Inkheart, an adventure fantasy starring Brendan Fraser. Fortunately, this movie bears no relation to Bedtime Stories, which focuses on a similar idea. With its fascinating characters, gorgeous scenery and unusual special effects, Inkheart comes across as much more exciting. Because of a few editing problems, it’s not a perfect film. But it’s definitely an entertaining one, especially for fantasy fans.
Fraser portrays Mo Folchart, an antiquarian book doctor with a young daughter called Meggie (Eliza Bennett). Meggie doesn’t know how her mother (Sienna Guillory) disappeared nor why her father keeps searching for a book titled Inkheart. And she’s very surprised when someone refers to her dad as “Silvertongue.” Why that name? Because his readings can result in unleashing characters from their bound pages.
After discovering that her father accidentally caused her mother to vanish into a book while several other characters escaped into the real world, Meggie joins him on a journey to rectify the situation. Along to help are Dustfinger (Paul Bettany, simply wonderful as a fiery character who wants to go back into the same book now housing Meggie’s mother), spunky Aunt Elinor (Helen Mirren), Arabian Nights refugee Farid (Rafi Gavron), and surprised author Fenoglio (Jim Broadbent).
Unfortunately, some of the characters now enjoying life in the real world prefer to remain where they are. Heading up that group is the evil Capricorn (Andy Serkis) who wants to use Silvertongue’s powers for his own diabolical plans. Will Mo, Meggie and their friends prevent this from happening? We certainly hope so!
Still, I’m happy nothing gets resolved until we see L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz add a few contributions to the fun as well as fairytale characters like Rapunzel make an appearance and The Madwoman of Chaillot referenced in one brief scene.
As an avid reader, it warmed my heart to see Helen Mirren deliver such a spirited performance as an ardent lover of books. When Aunt Elinor discovers the vandalism done to her library, Mirren manages to project such dismay and sadness, I wanted to rage and cry right along with her character.
Despite choppy editing which makes it hard to see what’s happening in a couple of scenes, Inkheart represents quality filmmaking. Iain Softley (The Skeleton Key) deftly directs from David Lindsay-Abaire’s excellent adaptation of German author Cornelia Funke’s popular young adult novel. I understand this is the first offering in an Inkheart trilogy. If so, color me hooked.
(Released by Warner Bros. Pictures and rated “PG” for fantasy adventure action, some scary moments and brief language.)
For more information about Inkheart, go to the Internet Movie Data Base or Rotten Tomatoes website.