Plastic Podcast

The venerable and exceedingly intermittent Plastic Podcast, which has outlived the two blogs with which it was intertwined, and whose audio archives were difficult to ...

The Plastic Podcast

An audio program about movies. Listen with your iPod or computer.

Plastic Podcast

The venerable and exceedingly intermittent Plastic Podcast, which has outlived the two blogs with which it was intertwined, and whose audio archives were difficult to ...

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Daily Plastic is a Chicago-based movie blog, a collaboration between Robert Davis and J. Robert Parks, the same pair who brought you the wearable movie tote, the razor-thin pencil pocket, and that joke about aardvarks. If you know the whereabouts of the blue Pontiac Tempest that was towed from the Plastic Parking Lot on the evening of August 7th, 2008, or more importantly if you've recovered the red shoebox that was in its trunk, please contact us at your earliest convenience.

Davis was the chief film critic for the late, great Paste Magazine (which lives on now as a website) from 2005 through 2009, and he counts this interview with Claire Denis among his favorite moments. Every once in a while he pops up on Twitter. He's presently sipping puerh in Chicago, even at this hour. Meanwhile, Parks, whose work has appeared in TimeOut Chicago, The Hyde Park Herald, and Paste, is molding unsuspecting, college-aged minds in the aforementioned windy city. Media types are warned to stay clear of his semester-sized field of influence because of the distorting effects that are likely to develop.

The © copyright of all content on Daily Plastic belongs to the respective authors.

Murray Close/Warner Bros. Pictures
Brendan Fraser and Eliza Hope Bennett in Inkheart

“Since the dawn of time, storytellers have enchanted,” a deep-voiced narrator tells us at the beginning. But rather than hearkening back to the dawn of time, Inkheart references The Wizard of Oz and especially Harry Potter. The Wizard of Oz references are explicit, as Brendan Fraser plays Silvertongue, a man who can make fictional characters appear in real life, just by reading a book. So he reads L. Frank Baum’s famous story, and a tornado and flying monkeys appear.

The problem is that Fraser’s “gift” also makes real people disappear into the book, which is what happened to his wife. So he, with a cutie tween daughter in tow (played by Eliza Hope Bennett), is searching for a copy of the novel that holds said wife imprisoned. But Fraser isn’t the only one looking for that book. Paul Bettany plays the morose Dustfinger, who was summoned by Fraser but desperately wants to get back into fiction-land so he can be reunited with his wife. And then there’s the villain Capricorn, who likes being in the real world and only wants to force Fraser to keep reading from various books, so as to get more wealth and power.

No one mentions Harry Potter in the film, but that was clearly on the minds of its producers and screenwriters. Inkheart tries to summon the magic and utterly fails. Part of the problem is that the movie feels cheap, with substandard special effects, chintzy production design, and lots of scenes where people just stand around and talk. Not that dialogue is necessarily bad, but it is when it’s merely a way to move the story forward without having to conjure up a new set.

Fraser is apparently the Hollywood go-to guy for acting in front of a green screen, and he’s fine here. Bettany is largely wasted, but he doesn’t embarrass himself. Ditto for Helen Mirren. And while I’m sure Miss Bennett looks smashing on the commercials that air on Nickelodeon, someone will have to explain why Brendan Fraser’s daughter speaks with a British accent. Suffice it to say, I was not enchanted.

2 Responses to “Inkheart

  1. Mike Stemle says:

    Interesting. They seem to always do a lot of standing around and talking in films with Fraser, no? Even in some of the climax scenes in Journey to the Center of the Earth they were standing around talking. Dacia thought this movie might be nice to catch at some point, but this definitely sounds like a Netflixer to me. Or maybe even an Apple TV'er :P

  2. spunky says:

    I'm surprised at how many people are confused by the accents. Mo (Fraser) is an American who has spent most of his life since Meggie's (his daughter) birth in Europe (as should be obvious by the fact that they DRIVE to Italy). Children pick up accents much better than their parents and it's very common for parents and their children to have different accents.

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