Christmas may not have been cancelled, but the withdrawal of the latest Harry Potter instalment left a gaping hole in the festive cinema schedules, with Iain Backbeat Softley’s long-shelved adaptation of Cornelia Funke’s children’s novel poised to cash in with a similar mix of expensive effects and outlandishly named characters.
Brendan Fraser plays Mo Flockart, aka Silvertounge, blessed with the magical ability to bring stories to life by reading them aloud, much like Adam Sandler in Disney’s Bedtime Stories (see Also Released). With daughter Meggie (Eliza Bennett) in tow, Mo traverses Europe in search of Inkheart, an ultra-rare book also sought after by pantomime villain Capricorn (Andy Serkis).
Whatever literary merits the original book might have, Softley’s by-the-numbers fantasy lacks charm or cohesion, liberating characters like Toto from The Wizard of Oz only to limit them to cameo appearances, while the eventual raid of Capricorn’s mountain-top castle raises nothing more interesting than a large CGI-storm to punish the guilty. While parents might be attracted to a promised homage to the ancient practice of reading aloud to children, Inkheart’s brainless and noisy bravado provides an illiterate and exhausting experience for all ages.
On General release from Fri 12 Dec.