Brendan Fraser does not have a history of starring in cinematic masterpieces. He has starred in the The Mummy Trilogyand Journey to the Center of the Earth, big budget special effects vehicles. And of course who can forget the goofiness of Blast From the Pastand George of the Jungle? Not to say these movies stink, but, well, they aren't that great.
Inkheart has some of the goofiness of Fraser's other movies, and plenty of over-the-top special effects, but the cooks got the proportions right on this one. It's a tasty treat. For an action-packed adventure movie, Inkheart, ironically, is all about the power of the written word. Fraser's character, Mo, or Silvertongue, accidentally discovers that when he reads aloud, the stories begin to happen in real life. For instance, when he reads "Little Red Riding Hood" to his little girl, a red hood magically appears. Unfortunately, not all that happens is as benign as that. A few years later, while reading an adventure story called Inkheart, the villians enter the real world. Even more unfortunately for Mo's family, when someone enters our world from a book, someone from our world transports to book world. While the villains populate our world, Mo's wife lands in the book.
The story begins with Mo, now a well-known book repairer, and his daughter Meggie, now a teenager, on a search for a copy of Inkheart. In the basement of a dusty book shop in a remote mountain village, he finds one. But no sooner does he get his hands on the book than Dustfinger, one of the book's characters, confronts him and his daughter on the street. Thus begin their adventures, tracking down and confronting the villians from the book.
Capricorn, the head baddie (who, incedentally, is played by Andy Serkis, portrayer of Gollum in the The Lord of the Ringstrilogy), somehow found another reader with the skill as Mo, and has a castle and crew read for him out of various books. Capricorn's goal is to have Mo read into existence the Shadow, a dark, demonic power from Inkheart, which he thinks will bring him ultimate power. Capricorn has discovered that Mo's daughter also has the power of reading things into existence, and forces her to read passages from Inkheart. The Shadow does appear upon her reading, but unknown to Capricorn, she and Fenoglio, the author of Inkheart, have been working on alternative passages. When those run out, Meggie begins extemporizing, writing on her arm what she wants to happen, then reading it aloud. Meggie's writing, rebuking the Shadow and thwarting its destructive powers, sending him back to the book, vividly recalled spiritual warfare, in which evil is rebuked in the name of Jesus.
There are few instances when words actually have power to act. God spoke the world into creation. Jesus spoke and people were healed. We can speak his name and see people healed and demons rebuked. Inkheart does not have any explicit Christian message, but it is, on one level, a fun reminder of the power of the written word, and on a deeper level, a potent reminder that God, the author of all our stories, has given us authority through Jesus to have power over the darkness and to bring the story to our own conclusion.
Bottom line, 3 1/2 stars.