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Inkheart (**)
directed by Iain Softley
by David Lindsay-Abaire, from the book by Cornelia Funke
Principal Cast
Brendan Fraser -- Mo 'Silvertongue' Folchart
Sienna Guillory -- Resa
Eliza Hope Bennett -- Meggie Folchart
Richard Strange -- Antiquarian Bookshop Owner
Paul Bettany -- Dustfinger
Helen Mirren -- Elinor Loredan
Matt King -- Cockerell
Steve Speirs -- Flatnose
Jamie Foreman -- Basta
Stephen Graham -- Fulvio
Mirabel O'Keefe -- Young Meggie
Andy Serkis -- Capricorn
Ratings are based on Rick's four star system.
One star - the commercials are more entertaining than the viewing.
Two stars - watch if you have nothing better to do.
Three stars - good solid entertainment.
Four stars - you never dreamed viewing could be this good.
Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rick Norwood

Inkheart Inkheart is a moderately good children's fantasy, much like last year's City of Ember. For the first few minutes, I had high hopes that this would be one of those memorable children's films, like the The Thief of Bagdad or Monty Python's Time Bandits. Alas, the writer and director, though they come up with a number of very clever bits, are never able to hold it all together. David Lindsay-Abaire's only previous writing credit is that he was one of the many writers for the animated film Robots. This is his first solo script. And the director, Iain Softley, even though he has been directing for fifteen years, only has seven films to his credit, counting this one. He makes a number of missteps, including brief black and white footage which we are to understand is seen through the lens of a video camera, and some amateurish shots looking straight down at the action.

There is nothing really wrong with the movie. If you enjoy children's fantasy, which I do, see it by all means. But don't expect the polish or production values of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

One problem with the story is that, while the premise is high fantasy -- whatever the hero reads aloud becomes real -- too much of the action is mundane: driving down roads, wandering through cities, playing hide-and-seek with the bad guys. We get glimpses of high fantasy: a unicorn, a ticking crocodile, a minotaur -- but they do not really figure into the plot.

The actors are fine, the script has a lot of promise. With a better director, this might have been a classic.

David Lindsay-Abaire is currently writing Spider-man IV.

Copyright © 2009 Rick Norwood

Rick Norwood is a mathematician and writer whose small press publishing house, Manuscript Press, has published books by Hal Clement, R.A. Lafferty, and Hal Foster. He is also the editor of Comics Revue Monthly, which publishes such classic comic strips as Flash Gordon, Sky Masters, Modesty Blaise, Tarzan, Odd Bodkins, Casey Ruggles, The Phantom, Gasoline Alley, Krazy Kat, Alley Oop, Little Orphan Annie, Barnaby, Buz Sawyer, and Steve Canyon.

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