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Imagination and fantasy with special effects galore
ma-cortes10 May 2010
Mo (Brendan Fraser) is good father, happily married who has a special talent to bring personages out of books. But his wife named Resa(Sienna Guillory)has disappeared. One night he brings out various characters named Capricorn and Basta from Inkheart , a book written by Fenoglio (Jim Broadbent) whose story is set in Middle Age and plenty of magical beings. As there suddenly appears Capricorn (Andy Serkis) and Basta (Jamie Foreman), two nasties, and Dustfinger (Paul Bettany), a fire-eater. Now, 10 years later Meggie (Eliza Bennett) discovers the truth and she also has supernatural powers . Meggie along with his father and grandmother confront several fantastic adventures, dangers and risks.

This exciting motion picture displays derring-do adventure, romance ,fairy tale ,and spectacular frames with phenomenal production design. The flick gets lots of bombastic special effects including supernatural apparitions, wizards ,legendary heroes and numerous images have you on the edge of your seat. As appears the heroes of tales as ¨1.001 nights¨, ¨the minotaur¨, ¨Rapunzel¨ and several others. Riveting set pieces illuminate the full-blown adventures blending witchcraft, fairies, necromancy and turns out to be extremely amusing. Stimulating adventures of ours protagonists are complemented by a breathtaking final attraction in the castle scenes with incredible appearance of an overwhelming ominous shadow. Casting is frankly extraordinary, Brendan Fraser as impetuous hero, Andy Serkis plays magnificently a shamelessly villain and Helen Mirren as likable grandmother, and brief appearance of Jennifer Connelly as Roxanne, among others. Ideal main cast is completed by phenomenal secondary actors as US as British players. The movie packs a sensational production design by John Beard , accompanied by a glamorous cinematography by Roger Pratt filmed on location, in Italian Riviera, Liguria and Shepperton Studios, Surrey, England, including a mesmerizing photography with wonderful , marvelous landscapes . Emotive soundtrack appropriately adequate to fantasy by Javier Navarrete. The picture is brilliantly directed by Ian Softley. He's a good writer, producer and director,who achieved big time with ¨The skeleton key¨, ¨K-Pax¨, ¨Backbeat¨ and Hackers¨. Rating: Better than average. Essential and indispensable watching for fantastic cinema lovers.
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Can't believe no one's mentioned...
coolclairep-115 December 2008
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!!
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Inkheart is a highly enjoyable film. But it is NOT the book.
Elswet2 February 2009
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 :.
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Fairly faithful, but bad ending.
Growlyted26 December 2008
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.

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Intriguing concept but repetitive plotting hinders what could've been a really magical, innovative and different fantasy film...
fantasyescapist22 December 2008
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
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You are not my God … Inkheart
jaredmobarak17 January 2009
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 written word.

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 go—why else would she have that accent—young 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.
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If You Liked the Harry Potter Books, Read the Inkworld Series
Fritz_Gerlich2 February 2009
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.
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A fine fantasy to start the year off
C-Younkin20 January 2009
"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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blytheberesford13 December 2008
Warning: 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.
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In a word. . .magical!
Sindaannuniel23 January 2009
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!
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Mark Nurdin19 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Mo (Brendan Fraser) and his twelve year old daughter Meggie (Eliza Bennett) spend their days travelling around Europe for Mo's job as a "book doctor". But a dark secret of Mo's is revealed when they run into a strange fire juggler named Dustfinger (Paul Bettany) and are captured by the villainous Capricorn (Andy Serkis), both of whom are after Mo's secret for completely different reasons. For Mo is a silvertongue, a man who can bring books to life, simple by reading out loud from them...

In a winter season devoid of Mr Potter, especially when we were PROMISED Mr Potter, a film such as "Inkheart" is much needed. It ticks all the right boxes: magic - check, special effects - check, based on a famous series of books - check, almost entirely British cast - check. It also doesn't have a lot of competition, its only real opponent in the holiday season being probably the much hooted "Twilight", which to my knowledge has one significant drawback: its a teen romance, and the only people who will want to go and see it in the cinema will be teenage (or tweenage) girls and their friends/unwilling boyfriends/mums. "Inkheart", like the films of H Potter, is a film for all the family.

So why doesn't it work as well as it should? Firstly the plot has an unfortunate couple of gaping holes within it, though the fact that this is based on the first book of a trilogy does suggest that many questions are meant to be left unanswered. This has become an increasing trend within these types of films; all desperate to start a franchise of their own, all falling miserably at the first hurdle. One example currently is "The Golden Compass", the first in the proposed Nothern Lights trilogy, which unfortunately seems to have stalled. This therefore leaves certain questions hanging in the open, unanswerable for the people who choose not to read the books as perhaps they find them too challenging or just can't be bothered. If anything, "Inkheart" has forced me to buy the original book by Cornelia Funke, though as a Christmas present for my sister, as I think she'll enjoy it more than I did.

That's not to say I didn't enjoy this film: far from it. There are some great ideas and moments in the film, along with some brilliant performances - Bettany's interesting "selfish" character, Eliza Bennett doing very well in her first feature that I've seen her in, and it's always good to see Andy Serkis. There's just not enough of him, and therefore not enough threat in the film. Even when the dreaded "Shawdow" arrives it feels almost like a special effect bonanza without any substance: a wasted opportunity. More could also be made with the special power that Mo has, as evidenced in the first escape attempt that is made from Capricorn's castle by the protagonists. For a film thats supposed to be about how brilliant books are, there's not a lot of them in there.

Thee is also sadly a tremendous waste of other actors in this film. Helen Mirren suffers from bad dialogue, though you feel like her great aunt Elinor could be a wonderful battle axe given better lines to say. Jim Boradbent's author is a rather ambiguous character too, all to ready and willing to believe the magnificent events that take place within the second half of the film. As for Brendan Fraser, though he does a commendable job in some of the father/daughter scenes, there is still something about some of his performance that cries "George Of The Jungle".

Still, that being said, this is our replacement for the Boy Wizzard this holiday season and, though not a film that would ever stand a chance in a duelling match with that franchise, it stands its ground remarkably well.

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Good fantasy for all ages
gazzalere13 December 2008
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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An entertaining yet heavily flawed fantasy film
Reel_starz25 January 2009
As with the majority of recent fantasy movies, Inkheart makes the mistake of catering solely to young children. Having read the book on which it was based, this is not surprising seeing as the novel IS meant for kids, but it felt like the necessity of keeping everything PG somewhat limited the creativity of the artists. A bit too fantastical and whimsical, the suspense and tension of the book almost completely disappears, leaving behind a movie that is little more than a visual effects-laden fairy tale. While some of the scenery is stunning, the sets look and feel too much like, well, sets. Nothing feels really real or, therefore, threatening enough to give the audience the sense that the characters are in real danger.

Eliza Hope Bennett, who plays Meggie, the main character, looks - and is - sixteen, even though she is playing a twelve-year-old girl. While some acting talent shines through, she feels miscast and often comes off as whiny and annoying instead of innocent and scared. Andy Serkis, as the chief villain, Capricorn, failed to create a villain worth hating or cowering from, although, in his defense, Capricorn was always a rather weak and whimsical villain to begin with. It's a pity because his performance as Bill Sykes in the Masterpiece Theater version of 'Oliver Twist' was absolutely fantastic and proves to skeptics that his magnificent performance as Gollum in Lord of the Rings was not an accident or mere luck. On the other hand, while Helen Mirren and Brendan Fraser also turn in adequate performances, the movie's main saving grace is Paul Bettany's turn as the fire-wielding Dustfinger (who, by the way, was my favorite character in the book and also the most well-developed). He effectively conveys the desperation and conflicting emotions of a man willing to do anything to return home. In the end, I cared more about him than about Meggie or Mo, her father.

All in all, while it was sufficiently enjoyable and occasionally stunning to look at, there is little that sets Inkheart above any of the other fantasy novels recently turned into movies. It looks like for New Line Cinema, which, for the past several years, has been searching for the next Lord of the Rings, the search is not yet over.
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You will like it if you liked Stardust
Arif Mir19 April 2009
I only watched this movie because the trailer looked new and the idea was an interesting one. I liked the movie but throughout the first half, you get the feeling that there is something big coming up and you just can't wait till it does. The ending was quite satisfactory considering what happens.

The actors were all well chosen for the roles they portray. The bad guys led by the evil Capricorn fulfill their role as a motley crew. There is a hidden humor amongst them which does not bore. The CGI animations were very well done especially the magical creatures and alike.

Overall, I would say that if you like Stardust, you will enjoy this one. Although, Stardust is still better in my opinion.

I give it 6 only because the first half drags on a bit long and takes sometime to move onto the real story.
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of ferrets and dust and half-written nonsense
alerter21 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
  Inkheart was not quite as good as I had hoped and I really did hope.

First, the Good News.

I most appreciated the acting of Eliza Hope Bennett, who played Silvertongue Mo's (pre-)pubescent Silvertongue daughter, Meggie. I next appreciated what Paul Bettany managed to accomplish with the horribly and repetitively mis-written Dustfinger. In a lesser actor's hands, Dustfinger would have become AshCans. Helen Mirren must also be thanked for her turn as the equally under-written Aunt Elinor.

It was also a very inspired bit of casting to have Jennifer Connelly play Roxanne, Dustfinger's wife. (In real life, Bettany and Connelly met and fell in love during the production of A Beautiful Mind. They are, in reality, husband and wife.) If Connelly were calling me to come back home, I would break a Hulking sweat running, if not flying, back to her. That's Motivation.

The weaknesses in this film were many.

Brendan Fraser, must be tired of phoning in the same performance over and over (Mummy 1-3, Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D) no matter what film he is actually in. Fraser's Mo could've used at least two more Stooges.

Andy Serkis, who got his big break playing the mo-cap body puppet for the CGI Gollum in Lord of the Rings, was not permitted any contortionistic body movements as arch villain Capricorn. Hence, he was about as scary as Mr Bean's Evil Twin.

What an utter and horrible waste of the talents (and beauty) of Sienna Guillory, who was stuck playing the exact opposite of Resident Evil's kick-ass Jill Valentine. What's her name? Oh, Resa.

And then there's The Shadow, which was reduced to just another Mummy-like dust storm with a vengeful personality. (Yes, I know that these were the best smoke/particle-effects CGI to date, but, dramatically, it was just another retread. You also have to wonder whenever CGI smoke requires its own choreographer. Is that much like Ang Lee mo-cap miming the angst of the Incredible Hulk?)

I sat up in the nose-bleed seats, in the midst of several families with young children. Many of these kids had to submit a drawing of their favorite character from the book in order to win family passes to see this film. Several parents were forced to try to explain the nonsensical screenplay to their bewildered tykes, who no longer recognized their beloved story. No one in their right mind thought to shush any of those valiant efforts.

For me, I never read the book and this film did not move me one bit to even think about bothering. I do not want to feed this studio franchise monster in any way, shape or form.

On the one hand, there were far too many direct cribs from the Wizard of Oz to even pretend to be original. On the other hand, there were so many plot repetitions and literal backtracking of travels/steps that I was also reminded of 12 Monkeys. (Or is that 12 Minkeys?) Only this wasn't homage. This was counterfeit.

There were way too many plot holes and story inconsistencies for a supposedly "family friendly" story/film, too. The friendliest thing one can do in a family film is to not lose the kids in all of the smoky dust.

Given whatever butchery was done to the original source, why is it that "evil" must only be destroyed as if that were an universal imperative (akin to the Hunt for Osama Bin Laden)?

If the film is going to allow Meggie to write her own ending to the story, in order for her to then be able to read it into reality, why can't she just as readily write a new and rehabilitated character/personality for Capricorn and his minions? If you've got the power of the Creator, why not save everyone, even from themselves? But, no, Meggie must destroy Capricorn & Co, with brutality.

We don't want to teach our kids about the power of salvation or even the possibility of redemption. Only cowards may be redeemed. Not any Bad Guys(TM). Hence, Inkheart.
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Thoroughly enjoyable
acts212024 January 2009
This film could have been a major clunker - it is, somewhat by design, rather cliché. Evil megalomaniac, threatening, merciless henchmen, innocent children in danger, silly underdeveloped characters incorporated specifically for comic relief, stupid animal sidekick blah, blah, blah.

Despite all that could have gone wrong, this film was very right- simply because of the acting.

That's right - a film where ACTING actually means something!! A film where ACTING is the heart and energy behind what we see on screen. Not the special effects, not the epic story - just the acting.

And BOY, was this acting GOOD. (I seriously thought about giving the movie a 10,but the storyline is just so cliché!!) I enjoy Brendan Frasier anyway, in pretty much everything he's done and I love Paul Bettany. But they were stunningly subtle in this film. I cared deeply for both of them - especially Bettany's character, who was deeply conflicted throughout the film. I know that this film will be utterly overlooked for any award, but the acting in this film is exceptional. Helen Mirren played the cantankerous old biddy perfectly. Where the danger was she could have been a total throw-away and pointless character - in the hands of this master craftswoman, she is both believable and likable, and rambles off one of the best insults I have ever heard with poise and poignancy - not an easy trick. Andy Serkis' evil megalomaniac is done to perfection.

The storyline was rather simplistic - but I'd watch this film again just to enjoy the excellent acting that raises this kid-film to a level of artistic excellence. Frasier and Bettany shine; Mirren and Serkis are a wonder. They could have made this film memorable if they'd done it in front of a white curtain with cardboard cutouts for sets. Having the stunning location shots and the very decent special effects was simply icing on the cake.

(and if you're a music fan, listen for the use of "Somewhere over the Rainbow" scattered through out the film)
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Nice story but lacked action
nikbik18 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Inkheart is not a bad film, but not too wonderful either. I went in expecting far more than I got. Brendan Fraser is pretty good, but Paul Bettany absolutely acts him off the screen as Dustfinger, proving yet again what a versatile actor he is.

I expected more fantasy action scenes and got the feeling that the film was building up to 'get going' but never really did. Even in the final scenes it all seems rather restrained and you leave feeling like there was so much more that could have been done. Andy Serkis is suitably scary but reminds me of a Bond villain, whilst Jim Broadbent and John Thomson are woefully under-used. What this film needs is more Elinor riding unicorns, Dustfinger juggling fire and more characters brought to life from books; rather than plodding along not really making any waves.
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I Had To Use Every Ounce Of Strength Not To Walk Out!
liberalgems28 January 2009
I hate it when all I can think of while watching any movie is: "when will it end?" & "I could be doing something much more productive with my time!" Along with constantly hoping it will get better sometime soon!

Inkheart didn't have to be such a boring and dopey mess! There certainly is an interesting premise: A person who reads a story inadvertently has the magical power to bring people and objects from the story into real life. But instead of writing an interesting & imaginative story that makes some sense within the world the writer has created, Hollywood choose instead to create a tedious, dumbed-down story that will satisfy no demographic group - be it child, teen or adult!

If you like endless clichés, sheer stupidity, mindless threatening, poor editing, cardboard characters, skimping on the special effects, constant frowning & pouting and sheer boredom - then Inkheart is for you!
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Much better than I was expecting
Warning: Spoilers
When I saw the first trailer from "Inkheart", I thought that it was going to be a dumb fantasy film just like that unfunny comedy with Adam Sandler, "Bedtime Stories". And also, it was directed by Ian Softley, the director of the atrocious drama "K-Pax". Fortunately, "Inkheart" was a quite enjoyable fantasy, with an interesting premise and likable (if not very original characters) While the performances and the visual aspect of this movie are just adequate, it's the funny and charming story that makes this work. I must confess that I've never read the original "Inkheart" books by Cornelia Funke, but this made me interested into reading them.

I give this movie eight stars because it was pretty funny to watch.
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Great Cast. Not-so-great movie.
MsDame4 May 2010
Oh, Brendan Fraser. How does one actor make so many movies that almost work but don't? He's been in a few brilliant films, a few god-awful ones, but the majority of them fall into an ever-widening pool of narrow misses.

"Inkheart" is another one of those. It's frustratingly close. You want to go up to the screen and nudge it a bit so it crosses the line. It's a fantasy-- a genre where logic is only slightly required. If this story had made a wee bit more sense, it would've hit the fantasy-acceptable mark. If the dialogue had more crackle and the characters had more contrast, it would've worked. It looks beautiful. The effects are good. There are clever moments. It's well cast with actors known to be entertaining and who are spot-on for their parts. It could've been a lovely, enjoyable family film if it had been given any amount of extra thought.

The movie tells the story of a man who finds out too late that when he reads aloud, it brings parts of the books he reads into the real world while it randomly sends real people into the book being read. When he reads the little-known children's book "Inkheart" to his wife, menacing charters fall out and his wife disappears. To have any chance of getting her back, he must have a copy of the rare book, so he packs up his young daughter and they spend years going from old bookstore to old bookstore rummaging through stacks of neglected volumes but not finding the one book he needs.

Fraser's bookbinder Mo is a likable good guy, the sort of character that's become Fraser's mainstay. Mo is a loving dad who's frightened by his unwanted ability and whose only quest is to read his wife home. It's a sweet, solid performance as Fraser plays straight man to some class-A scene-stealers. They are:

Helen Mirren-- no explanation required. She doesn't work at upstaging anyone, it just happens. Here she's the wealthy aunt of Mo's missing wife. Despite her flamboyant style, she has hermitted herself away with the collection of books she treasures, preferring to read adventures, not live them.

Jim Broadbent-- no explanation required here, either. He has one of those faces. He has one of those voices. He plays "Inkheart's" author and it's entertaining to see how much glee he gets from meeting the characters he created, even the horrible ones.

Paul Bettany-- He can't not be noticed. He's an actor who has an edgy energy about him--sort of like a younger Peter O'Toole. Twice his supporting characters have diverted attention from Russell Crowe-- as the lively college roommate in "A Beautiful Mind" and as the ship's doctor and naturalist in "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World." Except for looking at Heath Ledger, the only joy to be had in the mess that is "A Knight's Tale" is Bettany's Chaucer. He stole the movie, or at least as much of it as he wanted. In "Inkheart" his juggler Dustfinger is referred to as scary, but he's more scoundrel than villain as he attempts to right the wrong that's been done to him.

Rafi Gavron-- As a teen thief who is thankfully of no consequence to the plot of "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves," he's adorable and adds a welcome lightness to his scenes. He's the future of scene stealing, earning some preliminary chops here among the pros.

Needless to say, when these actors are on screen together in any combination, you don't know where to look. It's mind-bending to try to understand how anyone could make a marginal movie with this cast.

In addition to the above, Eliza Bennett plays daughter Meggie. It's not a role that requires a lot, but she does a good job of not overplaying what could have been a whiny part. Poor Andy Serkis is stuck playing the same ego-maniacally evil villain we've seen over and over. There's no imagination to his character or to his cliché band of goons. They're not even a particularly scary lot, and the lack of anyone or anything truly frightening contributes largely to making the story tepid.

"Inkheart" has a fun, unofficial running game, a sort of "Name that Tune" where you try to recognize classic children's literature based on a character or a telltale prop. Watch it with your kids, and if they can't tell you what comes from where, move away from the TV and read them a book.
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A Nutshell Review: Inkheart
DICK STEEL22 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
It's an interesting premise to begin with, having the power to bring to life characters and events to the real world by just reading relevant passages. I can figure it out already, where to get fame and fortune from the right literature to read out loud. But with great power comes realization and responsibility, and because there's no such thing as a free lunch, there's always payback in the most unexpected forms.

While I haven't read the book by Cornelia Funke, what got translated on screen did get a little boring, bogged down by bad lines, uninteresting characters, and humour which fell flat each time. The trailer might have painted an epic adventure with boundless possibilities from plundering the premise, but too bad a lot of books got burnt from the start, leaving The Wizard of Oz the highlight of the lot. It was fun while it lasted though, in trying to identify characters and objects from various well known stories, such as the Gingerbread House, but these sprung out like little nuggets for those in the know to spot with glee.

Otherwise, we're left with Brandan Fraser's Mo Folchart, nicknamed "Silvertongue" by the characters he brought to life because of his innate gift, which had banished his wife to the books to take the place of those that came out. With his daughter Meggie (Eliza Hope Bennett), they scour the corners of the world to look for the same book Inkheart, in the hopes of figuring out how to reverse the changes, and get back their loved one, wife Resa (Sienna Guillory). Fraser is being Fraser the big budgeted blockbuster hero, and doesn't show much expression from his repertoire of movies from the Mummy Franchise to flicks like Journey to the Center of the Earth, playing very much the concerned dad.

And if you think a bland hero is bad, a bland villain is miles worst. There are countless of villainous characters here, courtesy of the Inkheart book, that pepper the story, and they are the standard dumb goons. Even Andy Serkis' Capricorn is nothing more than an average cowardly henchman status with the sole objective of wealth accumulation, and hams it up so much that the villain becomes a comedian, and a bad one at that. Shades of Lord of the Rings come courtesy of his attempt to bring to life "The Shadow", the pale cousin to the Dark Lord Sauron.

Surprisingly, a string of recognizable stars are involved in this film, such as Helen Mirren playing Meggie's grand aunt Elinor Loredan, equipped with a big mouth that whines too much, and Jim Broadbent as Inkheart's author, who relished every moment of interacting with his characters, yearning for a chance to try and get into the book because whatever glimpses he had over in the real world, was an orgasmic walk into his own imagination, as he quipped. But I felt the best character here was Paul Bettany's Dustfiner, a lone figure marred in melancholy who for nine torturous years, had unsuccessfully tried to convince Mo to send him back.

Kudos to Bettany's acting of course, with so much pain in his expression he makes you pity his character, put in a world not to his liking, and very much against his wishes, because like Mo, he yearns to reconcile with his family, and what more when his wife Roxanne is played by his real wife Jennifer Connelly in a cameo role. In fact, his Dustfinger got put into more interesting situations in the film compared to the rest, and thus inevitably steals the show with a character motivation that's easily identified with. And he really showed off his range of emotions when he inevitably had to hear spoilers, which was the only time in the entire movie which I felt genuinely though tragically comedic.

Inkheart is like an adult fairy tale, and could have been like Stardust which I had enjoyed, with its star power and unique premise. A pity though that it was delivered rather plainly and had neither the depth nor anything unexpected to ruffle what essentially was a one-way train going through the motions on its tracks from start to end.
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The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
Manny the Movie Guy21 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Once upon a time, many moons ago, author Cornelia Funke wrote her beloved best-selling book Inkheart with actor Brendan Fraser in mind. Funke pictured the character Mo with Fraser's face and voice.

Almost six years later, the film version of the book arrives in theaters bearing Fraser's marquee name. While Funke was definitely right in being inspired by the actor, the book deserved a far better adaptation worthy of its rich material.

"Inkheart" is a fantasy adventure that tells the story of a father and his daughter and their quests through worlds both real and imagined. Fraser stars as Mortimer "Mo" Folchart and his 12-year old daughter, Meggie, is played by newcomer Eliza Hope Bennett.

Mo and Meggie not only share a passion for books, they also share an extraordinary gift for bringing literary characters to life when they read aloud. They're known as "Silvertongues." One night, while Meggie was still a much smaller girl, Mo accidentally banished his wife, Resa (Sienna Guillory), while reading a fantasy book conveniently called Inkheart. He also mistakenly summoned some of the novel's characters such as the homesick fire juggler Dustfinger (Paul Bettany), the evil Capricorn (Andy Serkis), and his knife-wielding confederate, Basta (Jamie Foreman).

Bettany, who stole the show from Tom Hanks in "The DaVinci Code" by playing a deranged monk is quite memorable in "Inkheart." His fire juggling character is presented like a rock star down to his funky outfit. Viewers will be able to identify with Dustfinger's motivation – his yearning to go home.

Serkis, on the other hand, who was so great as the man behind Gollum in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, failed to create terror and suspense as the film's villain. A movie about the eternal battle between good and evil must have a strong, well-written villain to succeed.

And don't even get me started on Helen Mirren who plays Meggie's aunt Elinor Loredan. The fantastic actress who brought me to my knees with "The Queen" followed up her triumphant success with lukewarm films such as "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" and now, "Inkheart." But the film is not without commendable merits. First, I strongly admire "Inkheart's" message. Like the book, the movie's theme is the magic of reading. I also like Fraser's loving chemistry with Bennett.

I still believe Fraser is a good actor (watch "Gods and Monsters" if you doubt me) in search of a good movie. But his soothing yet commanding voice is perfect for the role of a man who brings fictional characters to life just by reading aloud.

Inkheart, the book, is the first of three novels but scriptwriter David Lindsay-Abaire revealed some plot points that were not introduced until the second one. But the fans of the series will enjoy seeing their favorite characters come alive on the big screen.

Directed by Iain Softley ("The Wings of the Dove," "The Skeleton Key"), "Inkheart" is missing one important ingredient – magic. But there are some clever concoctions especially when Toto from "The Wizard of Oz" comes alive or when we see the sight of Dorothy's flying house complete with a twister.

But the most important effect the movie had on me? It made me think of which literary character I want to see bring back to life. My heart says Tinkerbell so she can fly me to faraway places. Now that's an exciting adventure.

And for that, "Inkheart" gets 2 ½ not quite magical kisses To see my full one-on-one interviews with the cast, log on to
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Story with plenty of (ink)heart
Neenee-b21 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Inkheart follows the story of Mo (Brendan Fraser) who was born with a gift (or a curse) of bringing to life whatever he reads out aloud from stories, the price of this being whenever something comes out of a book something in turn must go in and unfortunately Mo's wife Resa gets sucked into the book Inkheart.

The story picks up nine years later with Mo and his daughter Maggie travelling around Europe looking for a copy of Inkheart to bring Resa back . They are constantly followed by Dustfinger played by Paul Bettany, who is easily the best thing in the whole movie, who was brought out of the book by Mo and is desperate to go home. Dustfinger sways between being a threat at the start to one of the good guys who is so desperate to go home he will do anything. There is also a nice Jennifer Connelly cameo as Gwen, the girl he wants to return home to.

This is made all the more complicated by Capricorn and his band of minions who want to use Mo to bring out The Shadow.

I haven't read the original novel so I cannot comment on how true it was to the source material but I liked what I saw. The idea was fantastic - we had a Minotaur from Narnia, the ticking crocodile from Peter Pan and lots of Wizard of Oz reference thrown in. The only problem was there wasn't enough - as a reader there were so many other characters, stories and ideas that could have featured - although the main story was that of Inkheart it just would have been great to see more cameos from other well known stories thrown in.

I would give the movie 8/10. I loved it, it probably isn't everyone's cup of tea but if you like adventure movies such as Journey to the Centre of the Earth and even The Mummy series were everyone is having fun and not taking themselves to seriously then you will love this.

I do have a feeling though that when I finally get around to reading Inkheart I will probably find the book so much better.

Is there a sequel? Will there be a sequel? I hope so.
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A Fairly Decent Asset To the Fantasy Genre
Grissom669 April 2009
Mortimer "Mo" Folchart (Brendan Fraser) and his 12-year-old daughter, Meggie (Eliza Hope Bennett), share a passion for books. What they also share is an extraordinary gift for bringing characters from books to life when they read aloud. But there is a danger: when a character is brought to life from a book, a real person disappears into its pages.

On one of their trips to a secondhand book shop, Mo hears voices he hasn't heard for years, and when he locates the book they're coming from, it sends a shiver up his spine. It's Inkheart, a book filled with illustrations of medieval castles and strange creatures—a book he's been searching for since Meggie was three years old, when her mother, Resa (Sienna Guillory), vanished into its mystical world.

But Mo's plan to use the book to find and rescue Resa is thwarted when Capricorn (Andy Serkis), the evil villain of Inkheart, kidnaps Meggie and, discovering she has inherited her father's gift, demands that she bring his most powerful ally to life—the Shadow. Determined to rescue his daughter and send the fictional characters back where they belong, Mo assembles a small group of friends and family—some from the real world, some from the pages of books—and embarks on a daring and perilous journey to set things right. Inkheat 8/10
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Could have been so much more
ben gulick23 January 2009
I went to see this when it first came out at my local cinema, I was excited about the movie it looked like it could have been great. I read the book before going to the cinema, probably one of the best and worst things that I did.

The person I went to see it with had never heard of the book but was excited about the film.

So we went, and watched, and I cringed in horror, and he looked on in puzzlement. The plot was convoluted to the point of not being able to follow what was going on. It seemed to now know whether to be a comedy, a fantasy or something else entirely. They took some of the most fearsome characters from the book and made them ridiculous, they made dustfinger into something less than he is in the books.

I just don't understand where they went so wrong, it was almost as if they had 4 different directors each directing just a part of it without following the rest of the plot.

The effects were good when they were in existence but they were so few and far between that it was almost pointless having them, they could have saved themselves a lot of money by doing some creative shooting and just axing the SFX.

If you loved the book I beg you please don't go to see this. It's not worth paying Cinema prices for, if you feel you have to see it wait for it to be out on DVD and rent it with a group of friends!
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