PLOT: A young girl, Meggie, discovers that her father can speak people into and out of books when he reads aloud. And he should have kept his mouth shut. He accidentally read Meggie's mom Resa into the book Inkheart when she was a baby. In her place, he read evil villain Capricorn and the fire dancer Dustfinger into our world.
Mo has spent his life trying to find a copy of the book to read Resa out again, and when he does, Capricorn isn't very happy. He likes it here, and he's willing to kill to stay. (Hey, who could blame him? We've got internet porn and Cheese Doodles.) Meggie, her Aunt Elinor and Mo (who strangely has an American accent, unlike his daughter) must battle Capricorn, find Resa and discover if Dustfinger is friend or foe.
REVIEW: I'm one of those people who have to read the book first and Inkheart is no exception. Let me just say that it would be nice if we could base few more films on grown up books. My neighbors think I read at a fifth grade level. But Inkheart is a fantastic read, and I wasn't expecting the film to live up to it at all. Much simpler than the book, the film is still a pretty fantastic ride. The story is changed around a bit but the main characters are there, exactly as you remember them. Meggie is a precocious child much wiser than her years, Mo is extra cuddly (aw, Brendan Fraser is a teddy bear) and Aunt Elinor is ferocious as a tiger.
Brendan Fraser, cuddly as he is, was an odd choice for Mo. And there's a bit of a story behind that. Author of the novel, Cornelia Funke, always pictured him in the role. Fraser says she sent him a signed copy of the second book in the series and asked him to consider playing Mo. You know, if you're going to stalk someone, that's not a bad method. Not that I'm saying she's a stalker, but...My issue with his casting is his accent. He and Meggie have been alone in the house at a vague location in Europe. She's always changing schools as he searches for the book. And somehow, Dad has an American accent, and Meggie has a British one. Pretty glaring inconsistency, don't you think? And lovely and maple syrupy as Fraser's voice is, he seems to be having issues with the dialogue.
Still, it's impossible to deny the father/daughter chemistry he has with Bennett. You'll have an attack of the cutes just watching their interview together. Bennett is a refreshing casting choice in a sea of overly adult child actors. There are big things to come from this lady. She puts her adult costars to shame. It's also great to see older actors willing to look ridiculous and Helen Mirren is fearless in that regard. Not content to wear awful masterpieces of royal frumpiness in The Queen, she's got some turbans here that defy the imagination. I checked with a young friend of mine and she said she'd be disappointed if Elinor was changed from the book. I'm happy to report that Helen Mirren, aside from not being fat, is exactly what your kids will expect. She's got a perfect mix of irritated old lady and strong protector of her family.
Gollum...I mean, Andy Serkis...always get them confused, does evil like no one else and he doesn't dumb it down for a kid's film. And Paul Bettany juggles fire shirtless. Enough said. (His acting is excellent too.) His real life wife, the lovely Jennifer Connelly makes a cameo, which was cute enough to make the entire theater say, Aww.
For a book that's all fantasy, I can't say the effects were as good as they should have been. That said, I don't think your kids will mind. The story is very engaging, the ferret is adorable and all the girls will be crushing on teen heart throb Farid (Rafi Gavron) who Mo reads out of 1001 Arabian Nights. Inkheart is no Harry Potter, and it's not going to blow your mind, but it's a sweet story with a good cast. And Toto from The Wizard of Oz. Yeah. Toto.
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