Reviews & Previews - Inkheart

Posted on Friday, February 06, 2009 at 05:00 PM


By: S. Tran

Starring: Brendan Fraser, Eliza Bennett, Paul Bettany, Helen Mirren
Directed By: Iain Softley
Running Time: 106 minutes
Rated: PG

The Book Must Have Been Better

Inkheart is based on a children's book by Cornelia Funke, who may have one of the best author names ever. I have never read the book but I have to imagine that it is better than the movie which is a lifeless, humorless, paint by the numbers affair that lacks appeal for children as well as adults.

Given that this is the kind of fantasy aimed at young children I kept thinking there is not enough in the movie to keep them interested. Instead of being the focus of the film the fantasy elements remain in the background. Fraser stars as Mo, who is a Silvertongue, able make anything he reads from a book appear in the real world. With a power like that this movie should have had lots of interesting things happening but we only get a few quick glimpses of the power being put to use until the end.

Of course the power has a side effect of causing someone from our world to go into the book to replace whatever came out. Unfortunately for Mo, his wife was sucked into a book after Mo accidentally released a villain from a story. Poor Mo runs around for the rest of the movie trying to escape the villain who wants Mo to use his power to make him rich all while trying to get his wife back from the book.

If this all sounds a bit silly it's because it is. Being a children's story though I can give it a pass on the goofy if the story were fun but there is definitely something lacking in this film. There is no real magic or wonder. All the sets and settings are dreary and dull and the special effects are pretty second rate. The movie also lacks any kind of feeling of fun except for Mirren as Mo's Aunt who provides the only real comic relief. Even with her efforts though everything kind of plods along until the bitter end.

Another problem with the movie is the whole premise of the Silvertongue and how it works. Whether you think the Harry Potter books and films are overrated you have to give them credit for making the fantasy elements in the movies consistent. Here the whole Silvertongue angle lacks any kind of consistency and the rules seem to change to fit the plot. Plus, it took me about 5 seconds to figure out how Mo could have tried to get his wife back from the book but somehow after 9 years it finally takes Mo's daughter Meggie (Bennett) to figure it out and save the day.

All in all I felt this was a lazy effort at a children's film that probably will die in the discount DVD bin.


2.5 out of 5 stars.


NOTE: The showtimes listed on come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to