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Inkheart
DVD disk
Jul 3, 2009 By: J.A. Hamilton
Inkheart order download
Director:
Ian Softley

Actors:
Brandon Fraser
Paul Bettany
Helen Mirren

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
When Mo Folchart reads aloud the story comes to life. And upon reading Inkheart, he brought a slew of villains into our world and lost his wife to theirs. Years later, the past returns to haunt him and Mo if forced to make things right.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I’m definitely what you'd call a “fantasy buff”, and for this reason I found INKHEART likeably watchable. This is far from the best fantasy story out there (God knows a handful of loathsome titles slime their way into theaters every year), but for a flick aimed at a younger audience, I guess I can’t complain too much about the final product. Had the tone of this film been a bit more serious however, we could’ve had quite the epic tale on our hands. Instead, we get another notch on ol “family film” belt, which is fine if that’s the sort of adventure you’re looking for.

The “silvertongue” aspect of the story was impressive, and original by way of “reading” the characters into our world. That said, I feel this magic is an echo of that found in the world of LAST ACTION HERO (on some levels), only with much better characters. I haven’t been a big fan of Brandon Fraser since he destroyed the MUMMY franchise (loved him in the first one), and though he’s presented as the hero of this tale, I felt like things revolved more around Dustfinger than him (which is fine by me as I think Paul Bettany rocks).

The special effects were far more impressive than I expected, and though the Shadow was an obvious Balrog ripoff from LOTR, he still looked pretty damn cool. Quite a bit of the imagery in this film was breathtaking and well shot, yet (again) I just wish director Ian Softley had brought over some of the dark ambiance he used in THE SKELETON KEY to quicken my pulse a little. Andy (Gollum) Serkis was wonderful as the villainous Capricorn (his dialogue was pure gold), it’s just a shame he didn’t get more screen time.

Aside from clearly being a kiddy movie, INKHEART wasn’t a bad fantasy flick to pass the time on a rainy day (at least while we wait for Harry Potter). The ending was a bit of a stretch (the old lady and all the cheesy CGI monsters could have been easily stricken from the film altogether) but other than that, the closing battle was pretty solid. I rate fantasy flicks on a scale of DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS (being a big fat zero) to FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (a flawless ten), and in all honesty, this flick weighs in at about five point five. And considering the fantasy flicks we have to work with lately, it could’ve been much, much worse.
THE EXTRAS
Eliza reads to us: Eliza Bennett (Meggie) reads a (short) end passage from the original book that didn’t make the movie. Nothing of interest really, they all live happily ever after and Meggie starts trying to write stories she can read aloud without summoning things into our world. I think we kinda got this impression anyway.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
No fantasy flick will ever beat LOTR, especially one aimed at kids. Fans of the genre will most likely follow my lead and consider this film “watchable” but not great. And like I said, this is more Dustfinger’s story than Mo’s, just in case you’re like me, saw Brandon Fraser and was scared he’d ruin it for you.

Extra Tidbit: It’s occurred to me that the success of LORD OF THE RINGS may very well have doomed us fans of the genre to suffer the wrath of mediocre fantasy flicks until the end of time.
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