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This was a very enjoyable film; maybe not as exciting and a bit more
contrived than I'd been looking forward to, but it was still very
enjoyable in the main.
But one thing stood out above any other in this film; and that was: Paul Bettany's performance as Dustfinger.
He was just brilliant, and absolutely stole the film for me. I thought he was a good actor anyway, but the moment he came on I had to stop and think "wow!", and I continued to be impressed throughout the film, as his character development just got more and more interesting. I felt far more sympathy with his character than Brendan Frasers (even though I think he's fantastic!), and I felt that he was the true 'main character' of the film (in the same way as Sam is to Lord of the Rings).
If anyone is unsure about seeing Inkheart, I would suggest that it is a must-see if only for Paul Bettany's absolutely stunning performance; he is intense, emotional, funny, troubled, heroic and just plain brilliant.
Also high praise for Helen Mirren and Jim Broadbent, who were very refreshing. I did feel more could have been done with Andy Serkis and Brendan Fraser, they didn't wow me as much as I'd expected.
But overall a very enjoyable film!!
Let me begin by saying I have read the book and most of the second.
When I saw the trailer, there were so many elements I could not place
that I presumed this film would be some combination of all three books,
and almost did not see it as I had not yet read the last book. I'm glad
I did not succumb to this temptation.
The movie itself is loosely based on Funke's book. That's right, "book." It is actually NOT based on all three books, but rather, just as the title implies, the initial Inkheart. The elements I could not identify were never in the book. So...If you're a book fan and are unable to separate the literary story from a film adaptation, you WILL be disappointed. But honestly, if you're looking for something that bears more than a slight resemblance to the book, you still may be disappointed by the omissions, rearrangements, and substitutions.
But do let me say that Brendan Frasier is a wonderful Mo. The casting choice of Eliza Hope Bennett as Meggie was a bit of a surprise, but she is lovely and does very well as Meggie. Paul Bettany is a beautifully tragic Dustfinger. Wow, what a performance Bettany gives! I was also surprised by Helen Mirren's casting as Aunt Elinor, but she was a capable and endearing Elinor. I was even impressed by Rafi Gavron's Farid. I can't wait to see where HIS career leads him. He has great promise. They, and the supporting cast, were wonderful. Not one stiff performance. Andy Serkis was also good as Capricorn. I can't say he was "awesome," as he was not nearly as scary as the literary version, and seemed somewhat of a victim of his own circumstances herein, but he was enjoyable, nonetheless.
If you have never read the books, however, you may find this as I did; an enchanting lovely fantasy with enigmatic characters and a slick execution style. I enjoyed this work far more than I should have, considering the plethora of WIDE variances from the literary source.
All in all, while Inkheart is a highly enjoyable film, it is NOT the book. My advice? Watch the movie. Love the movie. Then read the book and find a hundred new reasons to love it again.
It's still fun, it's still wonderful, and it's still enchanting.
It rates an 8.2/10 on the movie scale.
It rates a 3.5/10 on the adaptation scale.
It rates an 8.4/10 on the fantasy scale from...
the Fiend :.
I saw this on Friday with my friend, and I enjoyed it more than she
did(it was between this and Twilight). Thing is, although I'm a fantasy
genre fan, I've not read the book but I've vaguely heard about it some
years ago. It's a alright film, but does't have that special something
to make it rise above others that have been released that are basically
the same action adventure fantasy thing.
Acting: Fraser was decent playing his typical 'hero' role, but the surprisingly natural performance came from Bennet playing his daughter. Alright, she does't look 12 at all, more like 14/15 but considering I'm getting more used wooden acting in the likes of Potter etc, it's a welcome thing. Mirren's bad-tempered charm as the dotty bookworm aunt and a few mildly amusing lines are good to watch. Serkis was relishing his straightforward villain role, although my friend couldn't take him seriously cause of his old Gollum role. Bettany as the fire-spewing Dustfinger is also convincing, conveying depth and I liked the childlike eccentricity of Broadbent as the author, an actor who seems to be turning up in every fantasy film going. Even a small role like Guillory's is done effectively, but could've had more screen time and more back story or what happened to her at a more satisfying length. Good supporting cast of baddies at the castle as well.
Pacing: Here's my main issue - the storyline gets repetitive in the escape then heading back to the castle again. Also, certain things aren't explained that left me a bit confused as to how they came about, especially regarding the man that comes out of Arabian Nights. It does get clichéd and generic, plus the ending wraps everything up too conveniently in the climax with The Shadow, so more peril and suspense could've helped. It's an interesting story though, as I said, reading aloud and it comes alive out of the book. I just hoped for more surprises and inventiveness with such a cool central idea.
Cinematography - The special effects, especially for The Shadow(which scared me quite a bit - reminds me of a demon) and the menagerie of storybook creatures in Capricorn's castle is all done to standard expected nowadays, so it's good if not the best you've ever seen. Colourfully shot, with good set pieces. The camera shakes slightly anytime something is read out of the book.
Score: Pretty generic, really, didn't notice any themes.
Overall: A good, if repetitive family escapist fantasy film that presents an interesting concept, but does't always execute it as well as it could've. Not enough emotional impact or scenes of what happens in these books when a character or characters read out of them are no longer in the pages of the story. Easy to follow and not too long, though, with a handful of somewhat amusing lines and a Lord of the Rings sight gag, and it does have a bit of magic (like seeing well known items from famous books in the castle etc). The theme of books and reading should hopefully, inspire the audience to pick up a few to loose themselves in, which is always a positive thing. 6.4/10
Cornelia Funke is my favourite author and so I was nervous about the
transfer to the screen. I knew there would be inevitable cuts and
changes, which could take the heart out of the story. The actors (with
the exception of Helen Mirren) didn't match what I had in my head.
Could they capture the in depth personalities?
As it turned out, my casting concerns were unfounded, although there was an annoying line from Capricorn. (In the trailer, unfortunately.) The cuts are noticeable, but acceptable. Same goes for the majority of changes. I enjoyed the first two sections, but then came the ending. I won't say how it's changed, but it was WRONG. In fact it was so WRONG, that there will be difficulties sequel-wise.
The best way to enjoy Inkheart is to lose yourself in the book. I hope this film encourages viewers to do just that.
"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.
I must say that I am always pleasantly surprised to watch a film
without expectations, or the tiniest shred of knowledge, and be
completely immersed in its world. With the new fantasy adventure film
Inkheart, I experienced just that. Iain Softley's cinematic adaptation
of the best-selling novel by Cornelia Funke is a fun and endearing
trip. I liken the story to the Neverending Story only inverted. Rather
than a boy reading a book and transporting himself into it, the
characters here read the book and bring both the protagonists and
antagonists to them. There is of course one caveat, for whatever comes
through to Earth, something must go into the book to replace it. Said
replacement being our lead's wife shows that there will be a fight for
her return and the banishment of those brought over, back to the
A very short prologue-type moment helps orient the audience with the magic that Inkheart brings. We learn that Brendan Fraser's Mortimer Folchart is a "Silvertongue", or person who reads the written word and brings it to reality. Unknown to him until he starts reading a story to his daughter, (my one gripe is that he never found out earlier with the horrible things he lets in later, you'd have to think something more than Red Riding Hood's cape would have come through in his past), the danger of his power isn't felt completely until two villains and a street performer from this obscure novel arrive, sending his wife Resa, (Sienna Guillory in a role I wish would have let us see more of her), into the abyss, trapped. The real story at hand begins nine years after with Folchart and his daughter who doesn't know about that past event and just believes her mother left them. Supposedly taught in boarding schools on the gowhy else would she have that accentyoung Meggie, played by Eliza Bennett, is an intelligent girl who follows her book repairing father as he searches for a copy of the tale that took his love away. It takes many years, but finally the copy is found; yet with it comes the rediscovery of them by that trapped street performer, Dustfinger, and the realization that Capricorn, the book's main villain, wants Folchart captured to find him power and wealth by reading aloud.
What I really enjoyed about the film is that the retrieval of Resa is not the only thing it has going for it. Sure Folchart's motivations are for that alone, but you also have the needs of those people that replaced her. Dustfinger, the ever-brilliant Paul Bettany who owns each and every scene he has here, is just a corrupted man by necessity, not a true villain, only wanting to get back to the family he left behind. This role is the most fleshed out and tragic, trying desperately to get away from the reputation that precedes him from those who've read the story yet unable to break free from the selfish coward he was written as. However, nine years on Earth has changed him; his love and need for his wife has made him into something more than a thief who wields fire and as he says to the author of Inkheart, a fun Jim Broadbent, he controls his own fate. Just the fact that he is out of the book proves that the words written are not the only truth; he can overcome whatever end awaits him on the closing pages of the novel.
But he isn't the only side character needing something. The other is Capricorn, a vile man looking to take over Earth as his own. Brought to life by Andy Serkis, the role exudes slime and nefarious doings, showing the talent of this actor most known for playing computer generated characters in Peter Jackson epics. Capricorn is a villain to the end and his flip remarks and lack of compassion make for some laughs as well as a worthy opponent to Fraser's manly man hero as he is a professional now at playing. Fraser is probably the weakest link of the film, but he does the part well and holds together those around him as the common connecting factor.
Actually, everything really does end up being pretty well done across the board. It's a fun story that may be predictable, but the characters like Dustfinger are so well formed that you find yourself needing to see how their arcs end up. Even the special effects are pretty to look at, from the wispy clouds as fictional people come to our world to the smoke monster Shadow that arrives later on. And I loved seeing some of literature's best "creatures" in the flesh, held captive at Capricorn's castle. Really, besides some shoddy bluescreen work of Helen Mirren on a unicorn, there is very little to fault in those terms. Heck, the movie even had a fantastic little inside joke for cinema/Hollywood fans with a glimpse at Dustfinger's wife left alone back home. Maybe I shouldn't have laughed when her face appeared on screen, but it was a cute surprise.
So, whether the film stays true to the novel, I can't say. All I can relate to filmgoers is that as a fan of family-friendly fantasy films, Inkheart certainly surprised me with its likability and warmth. Maybe not as successful as the classics, Princess Bride, or even 2007's Stardust, Softley still delivers one worth a look. And while Bettany and Serkis may steal the show, deservingly so, it's always nice to watch Brendan Fraser in a part that doesn't scream paycheck. It appears to be too few and far between lately, so I do sincerely hope this one becomes a success at the box office.
I was really excited about the release of this movie as I think the
Inkheart books are some of the best YA fiction around. The books are
dark and suspenseful and filled with twists and surprises. The books
are not funny or light hearted; children are killed, men die, women
lament, and evil is very very threatening and scary. The characters
likewise are complex (for YA literature) and provide much in the way
complex behaviour. And you can't guess the ending unless you're really
clever (which I, sadly, am not). I couldn't stop reading these books
and finished them off in a week.
OK, that's the books, what about the movie. Well the movie is light-hearted, the villains goofy, and the suspense completely lacking. The people I saw the movie with knew what kind of ending they were in for from the first 10 minutes of the movie. There was none of the fear and dread and darkness of the books. The movie was a lukewarm puffball, and the ratings on IMDb show that nobody was taken with the movie. 6.? is really bad for a movie here. And it's not surprising. What is there to be enthused about in the movie except for the cast and the locations, both of which are fantastic. The story is a limp noodle that offers no emotional involvement or suspense. It's just another kid's movie with no heart or faith in the audience.
It should be noted that the first Inkheart book is by far the weakest in the trilogy and after I finished it I was on the fence as to whether I was going to finish the series. But I had bought the set and so I started book number 2. And that's when things get really good and inventive. So it's really disappointing that Inkworld and Inkdeath are never going to get a cinematic treatment, but at least we have the books. And really, after watching this movie, maybe it's a good thing because if they did the 'goofy lighthearted predictable' thing on books number 2 and 3, I would have been really disappointed.
I would only recommend this movie to people that have read the series and are interested in seeing what Hollywood did with the source material. I would not recommend this movie to anyone looking to get a memorable cinematic experience. I pretty much guarantee that most people will have forgotten this movie by the following morning, it is that inconsequential.
So in summary, avoid the movie and if you liked the Harry Potter books, give the Inkheart books a whirl.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If you go to see this film with an open mind about it, then you're
going to enjoy it as much as I did. If you watch it and are nitpicking
all the way through, you're not going to enjoy it.
For me the whole thing had the same feel to it as the book - the film was a little rushed but overall it flowed very well (and to be honest Cornelia's book doesn't have the best flow in the world). I think things that needed to be explained were explained well, and nothing would have confused me if I hadn't read the book beforehand.
This is a very good film which hopefully will delight all fans of Inkheart as much as it delighted me. I am very pleased with it because it's almost like they took the book and put it into film version, with a few tweaks (they are rather large ones, but they worked well).
It is good as a stand-alone project and also as a film companion to the book. Without the book this is a very good film, but with the book it's even better because its as true to the book as I think they could do (with changes, of course, but thats what makes it able to be a stand-alone film).
The opportunity for doing the sequels is still there, but if they didn't want to the film wraps up nicely.
Let's face it, it's tough to write a screenplay for a novel as intricately woven as "Inkheart." Some scenes were cut that should have been included and some sections were changed entirely. But isn't it the characters that count? Their development and how true they are to the original work? In that regard, this movie is amazing! Everyone, except for perhaps Basta, was exactly as I pictured, with star performances by the leading cast. Watching Dustfinger blow fire into his fingertips and listening to Mo's voice while he reads treasure from "Arabian Nights?" It sent shivers up my spine to actually be watching one of my favorite books come alive on screen. And honestly, if we don't give this movie a chance than we're squashing any hopes of ever seeing "Inkdeath" on the big screen. Come on people, give "Inkheart" a chance!
Went to watch this film last night, now I'm not a big fan of Brendan Fraser but I enjoyed him in this film, he plays a loving father who just wants to protect his little girl, don't worry I haven't given anything at all away about this film. The acting was very good, the story was very Walt Disney which I love when watching a fantasy film, the cast isn't full of good looking stars but at the end of the day what Fantasy films are? If you love watching your children smile when watching a film then go and see it but also if you're an adult who loves a little bit of romance then go and watch this film, you'll understand why I said that once you have.
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