Friday, January 8, 2010

Mike the Boss - Films of 2010 - Film the Second: Inkheart

Inkheart (2008) (dir: Iain Softley)

Based on the beloved German children's novel by Cornelia Funke (it ranks second in
sales only to Harry Potter in that country), Inkheart is an adaptation that is best viewed before reading the book. Screenwriter David Lindasy-Abaire (writer of boring CGI film, Robots) decides to mix up the story and change the very nature of several of lead villains for no apparent good reason. I mean, I understand the original story is 500 pages long and you only have 90 minutes of film, but why you would change the lead villain Capricorn from an unfeeling person of evil and cruelty to a cowardly rogue I have no idea. However, ignoring the changes, Inkheart the movie still has an element of goodwill about it.

The basic plot outline is that Mo, played by Brendan Fraser, is a "Silvertongue", which means he can read characters and things out of books. He and his daughter, Meggie, played by Eliza Bennett, are being chased by characters from the book Inkheart that Mo accidentally read out years ago. They take refuge at his missing wife's aunt's home, played by Helen Mirren, where all hell breaks loose. Later on, Jim Broadbent pretty much steals the show as the dopey author of Inkheart, Fenoglio.

Director, Iain Softley, does a journeyman's job of hitting the high notes of the book. Almost outshining the story is the setting in the small towns of the Italian Riviera. Gorgeous scenery and beautiful structures made me want to visit the area even more than I already do. All of this combined to let me forgive the failings of the film and enjoy it for what it is. As with most adaptations, there is some feeling of disappointment when they don't follow through on the book but taken by itself, Inkheart is an enjoyable film for the whole family. Do read the book though afterwards, it is great.

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