Blu-Ray Review: Brendan Fraser’s Dull ‘Inkheart’ Fails to Come to Life

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CHICAGO – Iain Softley’s “Inkheart” is about a man who can literally read characters into existence. They pop off the page and into reality. Sadly, the film that tells his story is shockingly dull and inert, a movie that is about stimulating a young reader’s imagination but is too boring to keep their attention. Blu-Ray Rating: 2.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 2.0/5.0

I have no doubt that Cornelia Funke’s book on which the film “Inkheart” is based is an entertaining, young-adult read. But the drive for every studio to find the next Harry Potter-esque franchise has led to a few adaptations that probably should have stayed on the printed page. What can be left to a reader’s vivid imagination doesn’t always translate to the reality of cinema.

Inkheart was released on Blu-Ray on June 23rd, 2009.
Inkheart was released on Blu-Ray on June 23rd, 2009.
Photo credit: New Line

Brendan Fraser stars as Mo Folchart, a man who has the magical power to read a story’s characters into the real world and vice versa. When a fictional character joins the real world, someone from our reality must go in the other direction. It’s a very dangerous power that Mo has tried to keep secret, even from his daughter Meggie (Eliza Hope Bennett).

Inkheart was released on Blu-Ray on June 23rd, 2009.
Inkheart was released on Blu-Ray on June 23rd, 2009.
Photo credit: New Line

A decade ago, Mo accidentally “read” Meggie’s mother Resa (Sienna Guillory) into a book called “Inkheart” and he’s been looking for it ever since. When he finds it, the evil Capricorn (Andy Serkis) kidnaps Meggie and, after he learns that she has the same power as her father, instructs her to bring his evil ally the Shadow into the real world. Paul Bettany, Jim Broadbent, and Helen Mirren co-star with Jennifer Connelly taking a cameo role.

Despite a talented cast in the great Mirren, Broadbent, and Bettany, “Inkheart” never comes to life. It’s crammed with characters and story details to the point that it’s never allowed to breathe. We don’t get to know anybody and Fraser’s lead is a blank slate, a non-character moving through an overly complex story that never gives the audience anything to care about.

New Line’s Blu-Ray looks as good as you’d expect from a branch of the mighty Warner Brothers. The video is crystal clear and the audio is never muffled or muddy.

The special features on “Inkheart” are the lackluster collection that you’d expect for a film that bombed at the box office. $17 million domestic gross for a film this expensive was a massive disappointment and this release has the odor of something that the studio is trying to get off the shelf as quickly as possible.

Consequently, there is no commentary track and virtually no behind-the-scenes material. The special features that have been assembled seem to be guided by the themes of the film, but they’re all short and only marginally interesting. Extras include a few additional scenes, “Eliza Reads To Us: Co-Star Eliza Bennett Shares a Favorite Inkheart Passage Not in the Movie, Accompanied by Cornelia Funke Illustrations,” “A Story From the Cast and Crew: Novelist Funke Plays “Tell Me a Story” and Triggers the Start of a Wild Adventure for the Moviemakers,” and “From Imagination to the Page: How Writers Write”.

‘Inkheart’ is released by New Line Home Video and stars Brendan Fraser, Paul Bettany, Helen Mirren, Jim Broadbent, Andy Serkis, Eliza Hope Bennett, and Rafi Gavron. It was written by David Lindsay-Abaire and directed by Iain Softley. The Blu-Ray and DVD were released on June 23rd, 2009. It is rated PG. content director Brian Tallerico

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