A young girl discovers her father has an amazing talent to bring characters out of their books and must try to stop a freed villain from destroying them all, with the help of her father, her aunt, and a storybook's hero.
Upon moving into the run-down Spiderwick Estate with their mother, twin brothers Jared and Simon Grace, along with their sister Mallory, find themselves pulled into an alternate world full of faeries and other creatures.
In his homeland of Alagaesia, a farm boy happens upon a dragon's egg -- a discovery that leads him on a predestined journey where he realizes he's the one person who can defend his home against an evil king.
Mo has the special talent to bring characters out of books. One night he brings out three characters from Inkheart, a story set in medieval times and filled with magical beings. Capricorn and Basta, two villains, and Dustfinger, a fire-eater. Now, 10 years later Meggie discovers the truth and it's up to her to escape Capricorn's evil grasp. Written by
"Inkheart" is based on Cornelia Funke's novel about a character who can bring anything or anyone he reads in books to life. Teenage girls with "Harry Potter" and "Twilight" posters on their walls I assume are already trying to figure out how to harness this incredible power. Fantasy is in with the kids so all indications point to "Inkheart" being a big success. And why shouldn't it? All the elements are there for an entertaining movie, including Brendan Fraser again walking into the adventurer role and having it fit like white on rice. I've not read Funke's book but I can imagine its been packed down for a better flow but screenwriter David Lindsay-Abaire always keeps track of the message and director Ian Softley does a nice job of keeping things moving.
Fraser is Mo the silver-tongue. He can make any character or object from a book come to life and on a sad note, he discovered this power too late. When his daughter was a small child, he read her the book Inkheart, unleashing the fire-juggler Dustfinger (Paul Bettany) and worse, the bandit Capricorn (Andy Serkis) and his posse. As they came out, his wife Ressa (Sienna Guillroy) went in. Now 9 years later, Mo is traveling with his daughter Meggie (Eliza Hope Bennett) to live with an Aunt (Helen Mirren), but more importantly to find another copy of the book so he can set his wife free. Just he is confronted by Dustfinger, who desperately wants to go back home, and Capricorn, who has built quite a life for himself in the real world and wants Mo to read to make him more dominant, including setting the most catastrophic villain from Inkheart, The Shadow, at his control.
It isn't hard to see the pro-reading angle in "Inkheart". So even if the plot holes in the screenplay are fairly gaping (Why can't characters write and then read their way out of danger?), how can you really hate a story that focuses on the enriching power of the written word and its ability to transport the reader? Everything is here for a quality fantasy; danger, heroism, colorful characters, and love and the direction remains fast-paced and tense always. The special effects are also brilliant and seamless. The tornado ripping through Capricorn's castle offers non-stop excitement, and The Shadow, a villain composed of dust and fire for a mouth and eyes, is both suspenseful and frightening and is one of the best-looking fantasy characters i've seen since Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort.
Fraser basically plays Rick O'Connell again here, just with a different name but the same likable presence he always brings. This type of role is his niche and he doesn't disappoint. Paul Bettany is called upon to do a little more and his performance is the true standout here, showing the menacing trickery and tortured desperation of a man anxiously trying to get home. Bennett is not an annoying little kid but a fairly decent young actress and Andy Serkis more than fills the need for a glowering, power-mad villain. And then you have Helen Mirren, playing Mo's feisty Aunt, and Jim Braodbent, playing the kooky author of Inkheart, both adding much needed comic relief.
"Inkheart" is the first in a trilogy of books by Funke and hopefully Hollywood goes back into this well again. It's not quite on par with "Harry Potter" but I found it more engaging than the marshmallow-y "Chronicles of Narnia". Regardless, it offers two hours of escapist fantasy and in the cold early months, that's the kind of stuff that does the body good.
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