A Fairy Tale about Fairy Tales is a Pleasant Surprise
I wasn't especially titillated by the thought of watching this film. The thought of Brendan Frasier's last film, "Journey to the Center of the Earth," was still so very fresh in my past, and as many of you know, I do not suffer the wasting of my time gladly. "Inkheart," surprisingly, is a good little film that has the good right to take itself seriously, and entertain its audience.
I was entertained by a story that was unique in its construction and finished well at the end. Like all fairy tales worth their salt, "Inkheart" moves its characters through many perilous scenes, where the alternative to "happily ever after," is a gut wrenching conclusion. Thankfully it all turns out quite well, but with many hurdles and other obstacles thrown in the way for good measure.
The cast of completely dissimilar willing and unwilling heroes have more of their fair share of trials that push each toward some resolution in the remedy of their failings, principle of which is: Brendan Frasier's character, Mo Folchart, and Paul Bettany's character, Dustfinger.
Mo is what is known as a silvertongue; someone, who by the sheer prowess in reading a story, can physically bring characters to life. Seriously, the characters from the story he reads become characters in three dimension, in his life. One of which is Dustfinger, a street performer, who along with a group of wretched miscreants, is unknowingly read out of the fairy tale book, "Inkheart," by the silvertongue.
When these characters are read out of Inkheart, the unintended consequence is that some from the tangible world must take their place - usually someone close to the silvertonue. When Dustfinger and the miscreants join Mo's world, Mo's wife, Resa, played by Sienna Guillory, is sucked into the story of "Inkheart."
The lead thug, Capricorn, played by Andy Serkis (the guy who played Gollum in the Trilogy), who is read into Mo's world, steals Mo's one copy of "Inkheart," and leaves for a far flung destination - quite unknown. Mo consequently spends his next 9 years as a collectors' book mechanic, which is an appropriate cover as he continues his search for another copy of the subject book, so he can read his wife back into his real world.
Mo travels light with his 15 year old daughter, Meggie, played by Eliza Hope Bennett, in tow and therefore the narrative of this fairy tale encapsulating the interrelated group of many fairly tales remains relevant as a tale based on his search; and fresh, somewhat innocent, as seen through the eyes of young Meggie.
Capricorn, who found that his particular brand of evil was better rewarded in our real world, found his own silvertongue to read the rest of his gang out of "Inkheart," but the fellow stammers; so when the lesser thugs are read out the fairy tale, they come somewhat damaged: printed letters across their flesh, the loss of a voice and many other miscellaneous defects.
Capricorn cannot control this part of his sordid world, so he seeks a better silvertongue, just as Mo seeks a copy of the fairy tale, "Inkheart." Dustfinger, who just wishes to return to his world and his wife (Bettany's real life wife, Jennifer Connelly, pulls a cameo as the long lost bride of Dustfinger), selfishly, which is his unresolved failing, discovers and negotiates a deal with the capricious Capricorn and thus reveals to him the location of the Silvertongue Mo.
That location is that of Mo's eccentric book collecting aunt, Elinor Loredan, played by Helen Mirren, in a small but critical role as the grounding influence opposite the more eccentric existence of the globetrotting Mo and Meggie. Capricorn and his band of miscreants, thus overpowers the trio, and takes them to his mountain hide away for future to satisfy his future designs.
Along the way: the ragtag group escapes by virtue of Mo reading into the real world the "cyclone" from the "Wizard of Oz" as a diversion, finds the reluctant author of "Inkheart," Fenoglia, played by English character actor Jim Broadbent. He can't find a copy of the fairy tale, however, he does discover the original manuscript, and Mo, the silvertongue, is ready to return to Capricorn's lair, and help his lost bride and Dustfinger to return to their respective, rightful worlds.
"Inkheart" has a good premise, good special effects and is well acted. I like fairy tale films, but I need to wowed, as I was by the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, for me to give them a super rating. "Inkheart" did not wow me, but I like it well enough not to pick it apart, and as entertainment it is well worth my time at the 106 minutes it took to conclude this finely crafted fairy tale. The story is a hard road until the "happily ever after," however, it is really nice seeing a film that is devoid of sex, and other gratuitous vulgarities. But, really, isn't that what fairy tales are all about?
Rated PG. Released on DVD June 23, 2009.
This post appears courtesy of our sister site, Beaufort County NOW, with their expressed permission.