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Starring Brendan Fraser, Paul Bettany, Helen Mirren, Jim Broadbent, Andy Serkis
Screenplay by David Lindsay-Abaire
Based on the book by Cornelia Funke
Directed by Iain Softley
website: http://www.inkheartmovie.com/

IN SHORT:Terrific fun. [Rated PG for fantasy adventure action, some scary moments and brief language. 105 minutes]

Once upon a time, daddy read a story to his little baby daughter while his loving looked on. Baby didn't understand any of the yadda yadda about a Red Riding Hood and none of them was aware that, by speaking the words, daddy made a red riding hood appear out of nowhere -- dad is a "silvertongue" and his power is unknown to him. So begins a captivating and very enjoyable movie which, if we really wanted to do the film student total analysis nonsense, could probably be picked apart for a whole messa minor quibbles about the fantastical plot that spins out on screen. We're not going there.

Here is Inkheart, delighting us a fortnight earlier than we expected (and beating potential rival monster release Coraline to the plate) and kicking off a wild ride of a story ten or so years after the events recounted in the first sentence of the the first paragraph above.  Mortimer "Mo" Folchart (Brendan Fraser) and just prepubescent daughter Meggie (Eliza Hope Bennett) drive the Italian countryside on the way to aunt Elinor's (Helen Mirren)'s  house. That wasn't the original plan. The pair have wandered from town to town, apparently, with dad making a living by repairing old books -- he is, apparently, renowned for his skills so no comments from the peanut gallery for that -- which is just a cover for his search for a book called Inkheart. Dad, you see, has a talent for reading books, as in what  he reads becomes real. Characters in the books become real in our world but, just like one of Newton's laws of physics, for everything that comes out of the book, something must go in. In the story of Inkheart, that someone is Meggie's Resa (Sienna Guillory). And that's why Mo is searching out a copy of the book.

For those thinking ahead of the story, as to why there are no copies of the Inkheart book anywhere on the face of the planet is dispensed with deep in the film, in a sentence or two. Simply: they burned up in a warehouse fire and the publisher went bankrupt. We're not going to spill what happened to Mo's copy -- read between our lines and you can guess it. We advise you just go with it and enjoy the fantasy.

Our heroes' only hope is to find the book's original author, Fenoglio (Jim Broadbent), and  hope that  he's got a copy. Add to the main tale the stories of the characters who "escaped" -- an evil dude called Capricorn (Andy Serkis) who likes his new life as a crime lord; and a fire juggler called Dustfinger (Paul Bettany) who wants to go  home to his wife (a blink and you'll mss it cameo by Jennifer Connelly). For the multitude of little plots that spill out on screen -- the book must have been packed -- the essentials are that Capricorn needs Mo to read out more characters; his henchmen from Inkheart. Capricorn has found another silvertongue called Darius (John Thomson) who reads out other characters from the Inkheart book. Problem is, Darius stutters and the characters don't come out correctly. That's why he needs Mo. One final supporting character to add to the mix: a "1001 Nights" kidlet called Farid (Rafi Gavron) who pops out when Capricorn forces Mo to read all the bits about treasure and jewels.

Those who have read the book are probably screaming that we haven't re-told the bits and pieces perfectly. We were having too much fun watching the film to right down every little bit. And there's your endorsement -- We don't put dollar ratings on family films, just the standard thumbs up or down. For  Inkheart we give a hearty Thumbs Up.

And for everybody who's screaming at us, download some wallpapers.

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