Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.



Review by Patrick Hodges

Brendan Fraser seems to be the go-to guy when it comes to family-oriented action/adventure films.  The actor, now over 40, who made his living playing the “big dumb guy” in comedies like Encino Man, George of the Jungle and Dudley Do-Right has also made a fair amount of coin for his more recent endeavors, such as Journey to the Center of the Earth and the entire Mummy series.

His chiseled good looks and doofus-y personality are a good fit in this type of role, as the swashbuckling dad-figure who must save or accompany his kids on some whirlwind adventure.  In Inkheart, Fraser plays Mortimer “Mo” Folchart, a man with a rather unique ability:  to make come alive characters in any book that he reads.  This ability, unfortunately, is not all it’s cracked up to be, because if something come out of any book that he reads, someone or something else has to go in, and nearly a decade before, he lost his beloved wife, Resa, while reading a book called, you guessed it, Inkheart.

His attempts to find a copy of the rare book bring him face-to-face with the book’s villain, Capricorn (Andy Serkis), who likes it very much in the “real world” and has no intention of going back.  More to the point, he wants to coerce Mo’s assistance so that he can bring him more wealth, and eventually, bring a dark spectral being known as “The Shadow” from the pages of the same book that he sprang from.

Assisting Mo in his quest to stop Capricorn and his minions are his daughter Meggie (Eliza Bennett), his aunt Elinor (Helen Mirren), along with one of Inkheart’s protagonists, a fire-breather called Dustfinger (Paul Bettany), and a boy named Farid (Rafi Gavron), who was summoned forth from a book not unlike Ali Baba.    

The premise is good, and the movie is enjoyable enough, but keeping track of all the “going ins” and “coming outs” of the various books that are featured in this film is a big difficult, if not outright impossible.  My advice to anyone who rents this film on DVD is to just go with the flow and not think about it too too much… when logic fails, just ride the wave until the closing credits.

Inkheart will not go down as Fraser’s best, nor should it.  Though the book that this film was adapted from was part of a series, do not look for more films, as it was roundly booed by critics and ignored by moviegoers.  It could have been for any number of reasons, but I suspect it’s because the film’s reach exceeded it’s grasp, much the same way that recent adaptations The Golden Compass and Eragon did.

3 / 5 stars

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