It’s sad that, even if you’ve never read the book the movie is based on, you can still tell when something has been changed, cut, or added. But more on that later. Mo (Brendan Fraser) has a unique ability: if he reads aloud, he can bring things out of the stories he’s reading. But there’s a rule to go with it: if at least one person comes out of the book, somebody has to go in. Unfortunately, he didn’t exactly know he had the power. Years ago, he read from a book entitled Inkheart, where he accidentally brings out some awful baddies, all led by the evil Capricorn (Andy Serkis), as well as the selfish (but good) fire-twirler, Dustfinger (Paul Bettany). But since people came out, somebody had to go in. And it just so happens to be his wife, Resa (Sienna Guillory). So now, years later, we catch up with Mo and his teenage daughter Meggie (Eliza Bennett), who travel through Europe searching old bookstores. Meggie has no idea her father’s abilities until Dustfinger shows back up in their lives, with Capricorn close behind. So now, along with help from Meggie’s great aunt Elinor (Helen Mirren); Farid (Rafi Gavron), one of Arabian Nights’ forty thieves; and Inkheart’s author, Fenoglio (Jim Broadbent), they have to figure out a way to keep from Capricorn’s clutches while bringing back Resa and getting Dustfinger what he wants most: to get back in the book.

Wow, that was complicated. But that about sums up the plot with most of the major characters. The plot really is somewhat straightforward, and it does jump from place to place (read: plot point to plot point) with no real shown travel in between (unless it serves as a plot point). And with the size of the book that I’ve seen in the stores, I know there has to be more to it than what this movie showed.

And I figure what was cut had to be all the character development. Now, the highlight of the film was the wonderful cast of characters. Ironically, this almost excludes Mo and Meggie, who are honestly the least interesting of the bunch. But the best was Dustfinger. Paul Bettany really owns this movie, and it probably helps that he’s really the only character with a satisfying character arch or development whatsoever. Helen Mirren also has an excellent character (and from what I’ve read, is one of the more faithful-to-the-book characters). The most disappointing thing with the characters was the relationship between Dustfinger and Farid. You can tell there was something there, trying to build itself like it would have room for in the book, but it ultimately falls flat. Also, how the heck does Farid teach himself how to do the Dragon’s Breath thing? I felt that was the most bizarre part that needed much more explanation.

And then we get to the ending. I won’t spoil anything, as I can give enough information without giving anything away. The climax ultimately tries to be much more epic than it really is. There’s all this chaos and fighting, but it doesn’t seem to show almost any of it, focusing more on the characters watching and reacting to what’s going on than actually showing what’s going on. And there should have been much more of a fight between Mo and Capricorn. I mean, after the history between the two characters, you’d think they’d do more than that. Then the actual ending of the movie comes in. And this is more where I was going with my opening statement. Normally, if Hollywood forces an ending change to something, they try to make it at least dovetail with what’s already been given so you can’t tell. Not this movie. Even without reading the book, I can give the exact moment where the book ending stops and the movie ending begins. It’s just too jarring. The two specific characters start walking off together, and then here Mo comes, running down the road… making most of what we just saw in the previous scene pointless. Not to mention they threw in mention of a possible romance that comes out of nowhere. There weren’t even hints or looks or exchanged words or anything throughout the entire movie, and then there’s a line like “I know you like her.” And I’m all… “Huh?”

But anyway, I know the bulk of this review has focused on some negative aspects, but you have no idea how weird I feel writing this review. I really don’t know what to talk about. I did actually really enjoy the movie, specifically Paul Bettany and Jim Broadbent (as a writer, I thought it was fun and hilarious to see his reactions to his characters being alive, which is something a lot of writers daydream about). The characters, for the most part, were really fun (even if there’s little-to-no development). And the concept itself was great. I still want to read the book, and the movie makes me want to read it even more so I can see all the development and whatnot that was removed. So overall, it was a fun movie… but not much more than that.

I Am McLovin!

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