Monday, 21 December 2009

Film Review: INKHEART (2008)

Director: Iain Softley
Running time: 106 mins (approx)
Certificate (UK): PG

Watched on Sky+ Monday 21st December 2009.


I quite like fantasy films, even ones made for younger audiences, in fact Stardust (2007) is one of my all-time favourite films. I remember there being quite a lot of hype about this film when it came out and so I was interested to see it. Particularly given that there were quite a few big names in the cast.

Mo Folchart is a ‘silvertongue’, this means when he reads aloud the characters he is reading about literally come to life in the real world. One day he is reading from a book called Inkheart to his young daughter when some of the characters, in particular the evil Capricorn, appear. Mo and his daughter, Meggie, are saved by Dustfinger but his wife has disappeared. Years later Mo is trying to track down copies of the, now rare, Inkheart, but he hasn’t told Meggie about exactly what happened to her mother. They go to Italy to see Meggie’s aunt, Elinor Loredan and it is here that Dustfinger catches up with them. He wants Mo to read him back to the world of his book but Mo is reluctant to do it fearing he might loose his daughter too. So Dustfinger has sold them out to Capricorn and they are taken to his castle where all kinds of other literary characters have been conjured by another, less able, ‘silvertongue’. After finding out that Mo’s wife has been brought back, but with no voice, Dustfinger is now in a quandary and Capricorn wants to bring ‘The Shadow’ into the real world and that would not be good! Things look pretty grim…

This is a very well made film that, in my opinion just fails to hit the mark. I think the mix of the fantasy world with the real world doesn’t really work in this case. There are some really good special effects; ‘The Shadow’ in particular is very menacing and really well done. Decent performances from all of the main cast, Brendan Fraser as Mo Folchart, Eliza Bennett as Meggie Folchart, Paul Bettany as Dustfinger, Helen Mirren as Elinor Loredan, Andy Serkis as Capricorn and Jim Broadbent as Fenoglio. Special mention for Brendan Fraser, it’s good to see him in a more straight acting role for a change, I hope he sticks with it; I’m not a fan of his ‘hamming it up’ roles. Also I thought Andy Serkis was an excellent bad guy.

Over all, a pretty well made fantasy adventure that didn’t quite hit the mark. I thought the plot was too complicated, particularly for a younger audience, but there were some good performances. The special effects were pretty good but this didn’t make up for an over complicated storyline.

My score: 5.7/10

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