By Anthony J ‘Captain Cumquat’ Lucas
OK, what do you get when you have a magical character that reads a story and it comes to life? ”Bedtime Stories”!! Right! Wait, no, sorry. I mean ”Inkheart”. OK, so there are some slight differences – mainly the release date – much to the chagrin of Warner Bros. Much like the legendary 1991 fiasco where Warner Bros actually won the race to the box office with their incarnation of ”Robin Hood” and the Fox incarnation of the same name was demoted to a much less celebrated TV movie. In the case of Inkheart, the movie is a passable feature heavy with star power but light on performance.
Mo Folchart (Brenden Frasier) is a silvertoungue – which is, of course, someone who reads a book aloud and then the characters of the story incarnate in the real world. The catch is, whenever a character is brought forth from fiction, a real person is sent back to the world of the book. Sounds like a case of never-ending rewrites to me. Well Mo’s wife is accidentally wisked into a book entitled Inkheart when he’s reading to his baby daughter and is replaced by all the baddies and unsavory denizens from said book. Mo decides to stop reading aloud from that moment on. Until he finds a copy of the rare Inkheart print (which has a number of different covers for a book with such a limited run – but I digress) which he plans to read himself into and silvertoung his wife out of. Mmmm, that sounds dirty. No such luck – rated PG and very kid friendly. Through a series of contrived and extraordinarily coincidences, they all live happily ever – wait, I don’t want to give it away. You’ll just have to watch it to find out.
Beautifully shot and in the visual vein of ”LOTR” and the ”Potter” family of films, ”Inkheart” will definitely appeal to young people who are more fixated on the stunning effects and garrish visual pallate. However, any film that can make Paul Bettany look like he’s over-acting wins my how-in-the-heck-did-they-do-that raspberry award. Rest assured most of the cast overworked the material to some degree, perhaps playing “stylistically” as the story is so over the top, the performances should follow suit. Both Helen Miren and Jim Broadbent had illuminated moments of brilliance, as is their tendency, but for the most part, it was a long sit in a dark room.
A small featurette – that’s about it.