7/14/09

Inkheart (2008)

Brendan Fraser (Mo "Silvertongue" Folchart), Eliza Bennett (Meggie), Paul Bettany (Dustfinger), Helen Mirren (Elinor)

Directed by Iain Softley (K-PAX)

IMDB Summary: A young girl discovers her father has an amazing talent to bring characters out of their books and must try to stop a freed villain from destroying them all, with the help of her father, her aunt, and a storybook's hero.

I watched this film on the plane journey between Toronto and Frankfurt. It looked like a modern version of Escape to Witch Mountain or other post-childhood/pre-adult adventure movies that I grew up with, so I was partly scouting for the girls. And my friend Nancy had said it featured a very nice shirtless scene featuring Paul Bettany. A little something for the moms out there...

But let's stick with Paul Bettany for a while. Despite Brendan Fraser's starring role, the movie was all about Bettany's character, Dustfinger. If you consider that a story's central arc is the one that is resolved last, then it was all his. Dustfinger's arc is completed at the very end, and his character experiences the most amount of change. He goes from a genuine coward-- where his cowardice borders on villainy--to a genuine hero who deserves his happy ending. This is far more internal growth than Fraser's rather static good guy Dad undergoes.

But why was Fraser American and his daughter English? Did I miss something?

Part of the amusement of this story had to do with bits of literary classics brought to life. Being familiar with the Western canon of popular storytelling, I was able to see them coming and laugh along with them. However, and this is where we'll need to wait a few years, my girls are too young to understand or recognize many of these references. In addition, the finale featured a Nothing-like badguy a la The Neverending Story. Very scary. Or it least it would be if I were five.

All in all, I was quite entertained. I especially appreciated how much books are lauded and revered by the characters. Everything revolves around the magic of storytelling, the usefulness and power of words, and the potency of creative imagination. All very good morals, ones I hope to share with the girls when they're a teensy bit older.

Oh, and the shirtless firebreathing scene featuring Paul Bettany? Lovely. And waaaay too short. Nice call, Nancy.

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