Friday, January 23, 2009

A story that fails to stir the emotions

Put actors such as Helen Mirren and Jim Broadbent in the same movie and you should be half way toward coming up with a winner. That's what I would have thought until I saw "Inkheart," the big-screen adaptation of a popular novel by Cornelia Funke. It appears as if great care was lavished on the movie's look, but as transferred to the screen by director Iain Softley, the story isn't all that involving. Brendan Fraser plays Mo, a man with a strange gift. When he reads aloud the characters in the book he's reading come to life. His daughter Maggie (Eliza Hope Bennett) learns about her dad's strange power and joins him in a search to rescue mom, who has disappeared inside a book during some kind of page-to-reality swap. Mirren plays Mo's acerbic aunt, a sour eccentric and a bit of a cliche. Broadbent portrays an author who eventually meets some of his creations. Fraser may be a bit outclassed by a British cast, and a promising cinematic premise proves only intermittently amusing.


Katherine said...

I agree that Inkheart was not terribly moving, but I really appreciated seeing a children's film with an intelligent, imaginative premise rather than one-note characters, cute animals, or silly gags. In addition to Mirren and Broadbent, I would give kudos to Paul Bettany for the conflicted character of Dustfinger and to Andy Sirkis for being a sleazy villian without CG effects. If the action and adventure fires up the imaginations of kids and encourages them to read, so much the better.

Robert Denerstein said...

You're right, the premise was fine. If you're also right that the movie encourages kids to read, then it has a definite value. Will it? I hope so, but I'm skeptical.