“Inkheart” provides an enjoyable amusement park ride while it lasts. Not particularly coherent or exciting, but certainly fun. Holes in the plot and paper-thin characters are forgivable, considering its fantastic premise, which politely requests full suspension of disbelief from the audience in the first 10 minutes of the movie.

Brendan Frasier once more plays another affable, sturdy hero protecting his child from supernatural harm. His light, cheery acting style works well with the high-fantasy films he turns up in. He has become an unmatched master of reacting convincingly to blue-screen CGI monsters by now.

Andy Serkis gives a great performance as “Capricorn”, an evil henchman given the opportunity to rise to gang leader status by chance. This puffed-up dictator holds dominion over a weird hilltop mini-empire populated by misfits and odd ‘n ends from the young adult section of the library. Serkis does evil great justice in his performance, providing the film’s real scares.

Countering all this darkness, Helen Mirren gets a great comic turn as a stock whacky old aunt. Jim Broadbent also buoys up the show in his well-played role as the author of the whole mess.

Clever jokes turn up to keep the pageant from getting too grim. Also pretty special effects, along with charming old world locations, give the film a lovely look. At times the direction gets a bit claustrophobic but generally stays on track, helped by the film fast pace.

Any film that openly and sincerely loves books, to the point of bibliomania, gets special status with this reviewer. “Inkheart” does a great job of sharing the fascination, comfort and joy one gets from a beloved read. Children especially ought to enjoy this movie, and seem likely to buy-into its pro-literacy propaganda.

I certainly did.


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