Inkheart (2008) starring Brendan Fraser, Eliza Bennett, Paul Bettany, Helen Mirren, Andy Serkis, Jim Broadbent directed by Iain Softley Movie Review

Inkheart (2008)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Brendan Fraser and Eliza Bennett in Inkheart (2008)


10 years after his wife vanished book doctor Mo (Brendan Fraser - The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor) and his twelve year old daughter Meggie (Eliza Bennett) are travelling around Europe visiting one dusty book store after another as Mo searches for a copy of an out of print novel called "Inkheart". It seems that when Meggie was a baby Mo read to her and her mother from "Inkheart" and discovered that he was a Silvertongue who had the ability to bring characters from books to life. Unfortunately people from the real world must switch with those he has brought to life and is convinced that was why his wife disappeared. But whilst Mo has spent the last decade searching for the book the evil Capricorn (Andy Serkis - The Prestige) and the homesick Dustfinger (Paul Bettany - The Secret Life of Bees) have been roaming the world uniting with other characters who have come from the land of fiction and Capricorn wants Mo to bring to life more.

"Inkheart" is a movie with a semi decent idea for a fantasy movie and one which I am sure the intention was to awaken young minds to the adventures which lie between the covers of books. But whilst it has all the pieces of the puzzle; the characters, that adventure, the fantasy and some decent locations as well as a good cast it ends up a movie of pieces never truly coming together to create a fantastic adventure. I suppose in truth what is missing is mystery and atmosphere as whilst we have dark corners, dark characters and castles it is all quite ordinary.

Paul Bettany in Inkheart (2008)

The thing about "Inkheart" is that it has the novel idea of bringing fictional characters to life and so we have some fun scenes such as when we see a cage of flying monkeys or when a silvertongue called Darius reads and Rapunzel shows up. But get beyond the novelty of these fictional characters and "Inkheart" ends up another adventure movie with a good guy and bad guy with the good guy trying to stop the bad guy. That is fine for a young audience but leaves grown ups feeling like they have seen it all before.

The thing which makes "Inkheart" entertaining is not so much the characters or the visual effects but the calibre of the cast. Brendan Foster, Andy Serkis, Paul Bettany, Helen Mirren and Jim Broadbent may be the main characters but then you also have the likes of Jamie Foreman, John Thomson, Stephen Graham and Jennifer Connelly in minor roles and it is suddenly spotting these actors which make you smile.

What this all boils down to is that "Inkheart" has all the parts to make a great children's adventure but something is missing which means it only ends up good rather than great.