Inkheart (2008)

(On TV, October 2017) There is an initial flicker of interest in Inkheart as it first seems that it will be about readers, books and fantastical adventures between fiction and the real world. I happen to think of myself as a Big Reader currently on hiatus while I focus my free time on a hundred years’ worth of movies I haven’t yet seen, so anything that reminds me of what fun it is to read is notionally laudable. Alas, as Inkheart goes on, it quickly retreats to show its true origins as yet another YA film adaptation, with the narrative compromises that this implies. It quickly turns into yet another quest fantasy, and the various ideas that stems from the film’s premise can’t quite save it from narrative ennui as it goes through the motions of so many other YA adaptations of the past decade. (No, Inkheart doesn’t get early-adopter bonus points. Not any more.)  Despite his charm, Brendan Fraser can’t save the film, nor can Helen Mirren, Paul Bettany or Jim Broadbent. Despite everything in its arsenal, Inkheart only manages a tepid impact, and disappointment may be its most striking feature.

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