Brendan “Kids’ Choice” Fraser returns to the multiplex day-care as Mo Folchart, antiquarian-book-repairman-cum-adventurer and member of a race of “Silvertongues”—those who, when they read aloud, can suck people out of and into the texts they’re reciting from. Mo has abstained from practicing his gift ever since, when reading some limited-press-run sub–Terry Brooks fantasy, the titular Inkheart, his wife was slurped off into limbo just as a motley assortment of the book’s roughs popped off the page. All of this is retrospectively revealed to Mo’s daughter when Inkheart‘s villains catch up with Dad as he’s scouring obscure booksellers looking for a copy of The Book so he can reverse the switch. The Capo of the baddies, Capricorn (Andy Serkis), doesn’t want to go back into bindery and so orders copies of Inkheart put out of print by a private army of book-burning brigands operating from a castle whose dungeon holds a menagerie of literary beasties that include L. Frank Baum flying monkeys and a J.M. Barrie ticking croc. It all smacks of that overdone “passion for literature” common in English teachers who send any healthy-minded kid running from books. Bibliophile characters exclaim: “What in the name of Chaucer’s beard?”, “For the love of Thomas Hardy!”, and “Great galloping Knut Hamsuns!” (I made just one of those up.) Fraser intones, “The written word: It’s a powerful thing,” as though sitting for his “Reading Is FUNdamental” poster.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 21, 2009