Published Jan 22, 2009What is an adult to do when confronted with Inkheart? Brendan Fraser plays a "Silvertongue," one who possesses the power to summon a book's characters and situations into reality by reading it aloud. Nine years ago, while reading an obscure medieval-set tome called Inkheart to his wife, he accidentally brought the characters from the book to life.
However, one of the rules is that someone from our world must be transported back into the book and can only be saved if read out loud by a Silvertongue. Alas, the evil characters from Inkheart find they like our world better and set about destroying every copy of the book.
Browsing a used bookstore with his daughter, Fraser finds a rare copy of the story but once again runs afoul of the book's sinister characters, who in the intervening years have built a castle and seem to manage their oppressive, totally illegal society in a way that has escaped the notice of everyone on Earth. Regardless, Fraser finds an ally in Dustfinger (Paul Bettany), an Inkheart character who years to return to the tome to see his wife.
Perhaps I am looking too deeply into the logic of this film but if a Silvertongue were to mess with a book's internal universe by, for example, bringing the tornado out of The Wizard of Oz and replacing it with an anonymous henchman from our world (as happens in this film), wouldn't that drastically alter every single copy of the book in existence? After all, if our universe is without that anonymous henchman the book's universe would now be without the tornado. And, correct me if I'm wrong, but don't you think somebody would notice if The Wizard of Oz lost its tornado?
Inkheart doesn't make much sense, which would be semi-forgivable if it were at least entertaining. Alas, the film is as gloomy and depressing as any children's fantasy of recent years, with many of the villains' actions becoming downright unpleasant (maybe I'm just sensitive but seeing Rapunzel thrown into a dungeon made me cringe).
There is an interesting story thread in which the Inkheart author (Jim Broadbent) meets his characters. Now there's a potentially interesting film. Somebody get Charlie Kaufman on the phone! (Alliance)