When Mo Folchart reads a story, the characters leap off the page. Literally. And that’s a problem. Mo must somehow use his special powers to send the interlopers back to their world; and save ours. If ever a task was easier read than done, this is it. Mo and his daughter Meggie, aided by friends real and fictional, plunge into a thrilling quest that pits them against diabolical villains, fantastic beasts and dangers at every turn. Brendan Fraser (The Mummy films, Journey to the Center of the Earth) leads a splendid cast (including Academy Award winners* Helen Mirren and Jim Broadbent) in an all-fun, all-family film of Cornelia Funke?s bestseller. Follow Mo and Meggie into adventure more exciting than any ever read. Because it’s adventure they’re going to live!
Read my review of the DVD after the jump.
Official Site Link: www.inkheartmovie.com
Release Date: June 23, 2009
In Inkheart, Brendan Fraser stars as Mortimer Folchart, a seemingly normal book doctor…but he has a special gift. A “Silvertongue”, Mo has the ability to literally read characters and objects out of books. The film also stars Eliza Bennett as his 12-year-old daughter Meggie, Helen Mirren, Jim Broadbent and Andy Serkis.
The movie is based on the book of the same name by author Cornelia Funke. The film only made $17.3 million domestically, but managed to perform slightly stronger internationally, pulling in $40.2 million from foreign markets ($57.5 million worldwide), with $10.1 million coming Germany where the book was originally published.
Given those facts and after watching the movie it’s somewhat baffling that they didn’t promote it more extensively. Overally the experience is enjoyable and its family friendly G-rating opened up a very large young-adult audience. There are even some aspects that appeal to adults, as long as you’re willing to forgive some plot holes.
The film kicks off with Mo (Fraser) reading “Little Miss Riding Hood” to his daughter in the company of his wife Resa (Sienna Guillory). As he’s reading we see that the red-hooded sweater appears (off camera–this isn’t something Mo sees, although he does sense something). We then flash forward 12 years to Mo and his daughter Meggie in Europe. Mo is there in search of a book called “Inkheart”. The book is connected to an accident that occurred 9 years ago. It turns out thaqt Mo is a Silvertongue. Silvertongues are capable of making what they read jump off the page and into real life. The only problem is there is a severe consequence in that someone/something must take the place of the thing that comes out.
Turns out that he learned of this horrible consequence one day when he was reading a recently purchased book–“Inkheart”–to his daughter Meggie. Villains from the book started coming out of the pages–Capricorn (Andy Serkis), Basta (Jamie Foreman) and the conflicted Dustfinger (Paul Bettany). There’s a tussel and Dustfinger actually ends up saving Mo and Meggie from Capricon and Basta, but his wife Resa is missing. She’s disappeared into the book. From that day forward, Mo is in search of another copy of “Inkheart” so that he can read his wife out of the book.
Capricorn is searching for Mo because he wants him to read out The Shadow–a villain smoke and ash-based monster that he controls. Darius has only a limited ability in that those he reads out are incomplete (represented on screen with text from the book still on their faces).
And that’s the basic storyline.
Along the way we meet up with several characters. Those include Elinor, Meggie’s Great Aunt (played by Helen Mirren), the book’s author Fenoglio (Jim Broadbent), a character accidentally read out of “Arabian Nights” (Farid, played by Rafi Gavron) and various henchmen of the main villain Capricorn, including his very own Silvertongue Darius (John Thompson).
The film has a relative short 106-minute run time and that short run time actually leads into my main complaint about the film. The entire premise of the Silvertongue is too incpmpletely presented on screen. There is no explanation on “How” this happens or who is in control and why someone has to go in place of the person coming out of the book.
As to the actual film, it has a strong presentation, but it’s just lacking in substance. In addition to the whole missing element of how Mo is a Silvertongue, the excitement mostly falls flat. It’s certainly possible that it has a lot to do with the fact that the book is the first in a three-book trilogy, but I just would have liked to see a bit more substance presented and as is it may be a bit too generic for some. It’s no Harry Potter, but it’s not without its merits.
- “Eliza Reads to Us” (4 minutes) — Actress Eliza Bennett (Meggie) reads a passage of the novel not included in this film adaptation.
- Digital Copy — There’s an insert included with the DVD containing a code to download a digital copy of the film.
- For any Blu-ray users out there: That set has three exclusive features: “A Story with the Cast and Crew” (7 minutes), “From Imagination to the Page: How Writer’s Write” (11 minutes) and Deleted Scenes (14 minutes).
I wasn’t originally aware of the source material, but I can certainly say that there is enough here to recommend at least a rental. I give this film and DVD a score of 3.5/5.
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