Inkheart (film): Wikis


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Film poster
Directed by Iain Softley
Produced by Cornelia Funke
Ileen Maisel
Dylan Cuva
Iain Softley
Line Producer:
Ute Leonhardt
Executive Producer:
Toby Emmerich
Mark Ordesky
Ileen Maisel
Andrew Licht
Written by David Lindsay-Abaire (screenplay)
Cornelia Funke (novel)
Gary David Goldberg
Starring Brendan Fraser
Eliza Bennett
Paul Bettany
Helen Mirren
Andy Serkis
Jim Broadbent
Music by Javier Navarrete
Cinematography Roger Pratt
Editing by Martin Walsh
Studio International Film Production Blackbird Dritte
New Line Cinema
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release date(s) Germany
December 11, 2008
United Kingdom
December 12, 2008
United States
January 23, 2009
Running time 106 minutes
Country United Kingdom
United States
Language English
Budget $60 million[1]
Gross revenue $70,277,535[2][3]

Inkheart is a 2008 fantasy film, directed by Iain Softley and stars Brendan Fraser, Eliza Bennett, Paul Bettany, Helen Mirren, Andy Serkis and Jim Broadbent. It is based on the novel with the same name by Cornelia Funke. The film was first slated for release on 19 March 2008, but had been pushed back to 12 December 2008 in the UK and 23 January 2009 in the US.



The story begins with Mortimer "Mo" Folchart (Brendan Fraser) and his wife Resa (Sienna Guillory) reading a bedtime story Little Red Riding Hood to their infant daughter Meggie. As Mo reads the story, a red velvet hood appears, unbeknownst to the family as a narrator explains that people known as "Silver Tongues" are born with the gift that whenever they read a story aloud, their elements come into reality, and that some are completely unaware of their gifts.

Flash forward 12 years into the future, Mo and Meggie (Eliza Bennett) are trolling the European countrysides in hopes of finding a book for which Mo has been looking for years. He has come to learn of his gifts, and nine years prior, Resa had vanished, much to the chagrin of her extended family. Hearing the calling of books from a bookstore one day, Mo, a reputed book repairer, leaves Meggie outside and ventures inside after being offered to browse the shelves. He finds the book "Inkheart" in the stock and is overwhelmed with a mixture of fear and joy.

At the same time, Dustfinger (Paul Bettany), a character from Inkheart appears and attempts to persuade Mo to read him back into the book. Mo refuses to do so and hastily escapes with Meggie and travels to Italy to pay a visit to Meggie's great aunt Elinor Loredan (Helen Mirren). Elinor accuses Resa of running off, which upsets Meggie, but the two make amends when expressing their mutual passion for valuable books, and Elinor lets Meggie stay in her library to read. Dustfinger appears again, but this time having informed the book's villain Capricorn (Andy Serkis) and bringing his minion Basta (Jamie Foreman) to capture Mo and his family and take back the book, in the meantime destroying Elinor's valuable collection of books.

The trio are taken to Capricorn's castle, and imprisoned in the stables, which house various creatures from storybooks, such as the ticking Crocodile from Peter Pan and the title character of The Hound of the Baskervilles as well as the minotaur from the poem of Theseus. Mo explains to Meggie and Elinor about his gift, he states that when he reads a person out of the book, either intentionally or unintentionally, someone from the real world is sent into it, hence the disappearance of his wife, and from the day of her disappearance nine years prior, he had not read to Meggie from any story. They are abruptly taken to meet with Capricorn, and meet his current reader Darius (John Thomson), whose perpetual stutter had caused all of those he had read out of the book to only come halfway out of the story, with various deformities and the words of the stories written on their faces. Capricorn breaks his promise to Dustfinger to have him read back into the book, and throws it onto the fire, burning it. In his despair, Dustfinger leaves the group and runs to the kitchen, where he learns that one of the servant girls, a trusted friend of his who is constantly attempting to escape, is in fact Mo's lost wife Resa, whose halfway transition from the book she was trapped in has left her without a voice. He gives her the access to escape and departs.

After reading from Arabian Nights and giving Capricorn a stash of treasure, one of Ali Baba's thieves, Farid (Rafi Gavron), is summoned from the story and joins the storyteller and his family in imprisonment. Dustfinger opts not to tell Mo that his wife is in the village(risking losing his wife all over again) and prompts a quick escape using the famous cyclone from The Wizard of Oz. After they escape, Meggie offers the idea that only the author of Inkheart, Fenoglio (Jim Broadbent – a fictional character, unrelated to the Italian writer Beppe Fenoglio) may have access to a copy of the rare-to-find book.

After learning of the author's location and traveling to his town, Elinor decides to leave to recover what is left of her book collection. Dustfinger stays behind with Farid partly in order to teach him how to juggle fire, but also due to the fact he is afraid of learning his fate at the end of the book. Fenoglio cannot resist approaching his creation and inadvertently blurts out that Dustfinger dies in the novel while saving his marten Gwin. This devastates the fire juggler, who states that the writer is not his god, and he can deem whatever fate he chooses. While Mo attempts to find a way of reading Resa out of the book, Dustfinger has no choice but to confess that she was at Capricorn's village, prompting him and Mo to take Fenoglio's car and leave Meggie behind with Fenoglio. They discover, that Farid had stowed away in the car's trunk, and take him along at his insistence to help. Elsewhere, Elinor has a change of heart and does not take the train back to Italy.

Meanwhile, Meggie learns that she has inherited her father's gift when she accidentally summons Toto from the Wizard of Oz. Basta comes and takes Meggie and Fenoglio back to Capricorn's village. Capricorn intends to use Meggie to read the Shadow, Inkheart's supernatural and most deadly villain, out of the book and into the real world, using a copy of the book he had unknowingly kept to himself. After a brief reunion with her mother, Meggie is coerced into cooperating or risk Capricorn killing Resa. Elinor in the meantime discovers Fenoglio's ransacked apartment and rents a motorbike to save her family. As Mo, Farid and Dustfinger work on a plan of burning down Capricorn's castle, Dustfinger is captured. After escaping his cell, he attempts to free Meggie and Fenoglio who is working on a way to rewrite the ending of the Shadow for her to read. He is unable to free them, and flees, only to return at his conscience (or perhaps Meggie's) beckoning.

Meggie is dressed elegantly and escorted out to read the Shadow out of the book, and Fenoglio and Resa are caged to be his first meal. Fenoglio manages to use Toto to give her a page that he had written, and she manages to call off the Shadow. In the scuffle, she loses the rewrite and Shadow attempts again to kill Resa, Fenoglio, and Mo, who had intervened in the fight. Mo gives Meggie a pen to write her own ending, and using her arm, Meggie manages to send all the book characters back to their own stories, and at Fenoglio's request, sends him into the Inkheart world as well. Dustfinger misses his chance to return, and departs when Elinor, Resa, Mo and Meggie embrace, where Meggie discovers that Inkheart had been taken.

Farid catches up with Dustfinger, insisting on travelling with him to find another reader to send him back into the book, which he had stolen, noting he will remember Meggie after having also stolen Mo's wallet with a picture of her inside. After a moment's hesitation, Dustfinger agrees, and the two start off together, only to have Mo come up to fulfill his promise to return Dustfinger to his book. Dustfinger is transported safely back into Inkheart, where he reunites with his wife Roxane (Jennifer Connelly). Farid reveals to the family that Dustfinger's fate has been changed, as he pulls Gwin out of a travel pack he is carrying, and without the marten to sacrifice himself to, Dustfinger is again in control of his destiny. Meggie and Resa invite Farid to live with them, and Meggie agrees to teach him how to read and Farid agrees to teach her how to use the dragon fire.



Shortly after the novel was published, author Cornelia Funke sent a copy of Inkheart along with a note to Brendan Fraser, explaining that he was her inspiration for the character of Mo.[4]

"So I get this book. It shows up in the mail. 'Dear Brendan,' it's inscribed, 'Thank you for inspiring this character.' I can feel my leg getting pulled already. 'What? Where’s Ashton Kutcher?' 'I hope that you get a chance to read this aloud to your kids one day. Best wishes, Cornelia Funke.' I had no idea from a bar of soap who she was, so I Googled her. Wow, so much work, she’s prolific. I think part of the story is that a little girl who was bilingual, I think she was a Brit but she spoke German fluently, had discovered a copy of Tintenherz which she loved and read, and wrote to either it was Cornelia or the publisher and asked why isn’t this published in English? And I think Cornelia probably wanted to know the answer to that question too. So once it was, it just became a snowballing thing and then that really got her out there and led to the acclaim and popularity of her work."

It was this that motivated director Iain Softley and the casting department to consider Fraser first for the role in the film. Fraser told Softley that if it was determined that he was not right for the role, not to feel obligated to use him on the project. Softley was ultimately impressed with Fraser's performance and contracted him for the film.

Funke, was quoted as saying that "we had our second screening (summer 2007), which went well, and I really loved the movie, but they are still changing things, especially at the end."

As with the production of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, the production progressed very slowly. The American release was originally slated for Christmas 2007, but then was changed to 19 March 2008. In addition, due to the writer's strike, the film was further pushed back and opened 23 January 2009.

Inkheart was filmed at Shepperton Studios near London, England and on location in Balestrino, Albenga and Laigueglia, Italy, in 2006 and 2007.


Visual effects

The company Double Negative was approached to create the menacing animated character, The Shadow, along with other creatures and visual effects for the film. Working closely with the production's VFX Supervisor, Angus Bickerton, Double Negative's team were led by VFX Supervisors Paul Riddle and Ryan Cook, and VFX Producer Fay McConkey.

The finale of the film takes place within a ruined amphitheatre nestled in the Italian mountains; this is the lair of Capricorn, one of the villains Mo has accidentally "read" into the real world. The visual effects work included the digital augmentation of the bluescreen set, the billowing, pryoclastic monster, The Shadow, the surreal winged monkeys with their raven black feathers and Carpricorn's final transition.[5]


Critical response

Inkheart has received generally mixed reviews from critics. It has so far received a 39% "Rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 107 reviews, with 40 reviews "Fresh" and 67 reviews "Rotten". It received an average score of 5 and a score of 27% from top critics, based on 26 reviews.[6] It did reach a higher rating of 62% from the RT Community. Their consensus is "Heavy on cliches and light on charm, this kid-lit fantasy-adventure doesn't quite get off the ground." In addition, Metacritic has given the film a 47 out of 100, indicating "Mixed or Average Reviews".[7]

Kirk Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter disliked the film, saying: "Whatever made the German novel Inkheart by Cornelia Funke so popular that it got translated into 37 languages is nowhere in evidence in its film version", and "The main problem is the central concept itself."[8] On the other hand, Bill Goodykoontz of The Arizona Republic enjoyed the film, saying: "Inkheart is entertaining enough, if not always easy to follow. And if it does nothing else, at least it may inspire kids to read, if for no other reason than to help make sense of it all."[9]

Box office

The film grossed $2,110,000 during its opening day in 2,655 theaters. It opened at #7 at the domestic box office with $7,725,000, with a worldwide gross of close to $13 million. It yielded just $1 million from its opening in the U.K, ranking fourth in that country, while coming in third at $1.8 million in Germany. It later came to make $5,781,992 in the UK, $10,112,691 in Germany, $1,222,364 in Australia, $1,484,027 in France, $3,289,477 in Italy, $1,815,500 in Taiwan, $2,951,290 in Spain, $2,665,476 in South Korea, $1,681,477 in Russia, $2,378,200 in Mexico, and $1,080,825 in Malaysia, plus $4,187,389 from smaller countries.[10] Over eleven weeks it had made $17,303,424 Domestically, and $45,146,937 Foreign, making $62,450,361.[11] It has made $7,827,174 so far in US DVD sales.[12] Making $70,277,535 Worldwide[13][14]

Home release

Inkheart was released on DVD and Blu-ray in the United Kingdom on 13 April 2009.[15] It was released in the United States on 23 June 2009.


According to The New York Times, the sequel movie Inkspell has been announced.[16]

Video game

On January 12, 2009, a video game based on the film was released for the Nintendo DS.[17]


External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Inkheart is a 2009 fantasy film, directed by Iain Softley, based on the novel by Cornelia Funke.



  • Who's the driver? Dad. Who's the navigator? Me. Have I ever got us lost before?
  • Toto, you're gonna get me in trouble!
  • Yes, I do. And I also know what they say about talking to strangers.
  • You can stay with us. [beat] It was mom's idea.
  • Stupid? You're the one who thinks he's in a dream. I was just trying to be nice. Go back to your muttering then. See if I care.
  • Why is every bookstore we go to a thousand years old?
  • I have Mo's gift.
  • [To Dustfinger] You're afraid.
  • Don't worry Toto; you're just not in Kansas anymore.
  • You don't know what I can do...and neither do I.


  • Well, that makes sense, you speaking weasel.
  • The written word is a powerful thing.
  • Hey, look! A sasquatch!
  • I don't read aloud anymore.
  • I'm warning you. I have no control over what comes and goes.
  • I can't send you back. I don't know how.
  • This is the story you've been waiting to hear...
  • [About Elinor] She's kind of an acquired taste.
  • [To Meggie about Inkheart] You're not even allowed to touch that book, you understand me?


  • Just get in the car!
  • All right; this is our way in. Now listen, this is gonna be dangerous, so you need to keep up. You gotta move quickly.
  • I miss my family too.
  • Do you know the end of your story Meggie?
  • He doesn't like to be tickled.
  • His name's Gwin. And I know he looks charming, but you know what they say about books and covers.
  • Has your father ever read you a bedtime story, Meggie?
  • You are not my god!
  • Put right the wrong you did nine years ago.
  • Before you say anything, I'm here to save your necks.
  • Let's you and me go for a little walk.
  • There are times in life when the stars simply align.
  • [To Resa] You went in the book when I came out.


  • I prefer a story that has the good sense to stay on the page.
  • Stop ringing that d**n bell!
  • [About Meggie] She so reminds me of her mother. And not just when she opens her mouth, if she ever does.
  • You barbaric piece of pulp fiction!


  • Oh yes, and duct tape. I love duct tape.
  • Feast!
  • [About the Shadow] You are going to love him. And by 'love' I mean 'cower in terror' from.
  • [To Dustfinger] Must you do that every time? It's pathetic, honestly.
  • [To Dustfinger] Now go and get your burns tended, otherwise I'll be forced to cancel our weekly juggle night. And you know how I love juggle night.


  • This must be what it feels like to give birth!
  • (regretably) I'm sorry. I had no choice, (suddenly excited) but look! It's Basta!
  • [About Dustfinger] I'm practically his father!
  • [To Capricorn] You're just how I wrote you. A cowardly thug.
  • [To Mortola] You are my crude scribblings, Magpie.
  • Meggie! Set me free!
  • It's a wonderful story. I'd give anything to go into it myself.
  • Why can't I come too? It's my car.
  • Reduced to babysitting. Marvelous.


  • You remember my calling card. (mimicking slashes) One, two, three!
  • Evil spirits I repel thee! Evil spirits I repel thee!
  • Maybe I don't need luck.


  • It's just a dream. It's just a dream.
  • You are as sour as goat's urine!
  • [About Fenoglio] But he's mean!
  • I don't want to go back into my stinking book!


Basta (after catching up to Meggie and Mo): Hello, princess. Where's you father?
Fenoglio: I told them he's gone out, but they don't believe me.
Meggie: You told them?!
Fenoglio: He had a knife to my throat! Isn't he awful?
Basta: Tell me where Silvertongue is before I kill you both. (Toto comes out from under the bed and barks)
Meggie: Toto, no! (she goes over to Toto)
Fenoglio: Toto? (looks at "The Wizard of Oz") Oh, my goodness! (picks up "The Wizard of Oz") She's inherited her father's gift! (Basta grabs the book, and looks back at Meggie)
Basta: Another Silvertongue. Ol' Capricorn will be pleased. (he takes Toto away from Meggie; Toto whimpers)

Dustfinger (after Meggie was tickling Gwin and got bit): He doesn't like to be tickled. And you sould be more careful. His name's Gwin. And I know he looks charming, but you know what they say about books and covers. (he leans down in front of Meggie to pick up Gwin; Meggie gets up)
Meggie: Yes, I do. And I also know what they say about talking to strangers. Excuse me. (she starts walking away)
Dustfinger: But I'm not a stranger, Meggie. (Meggie stops and turns around back to Dustfinger) You won't remember me; we met once when you were quite small. But I'm not a stranger. (Mo comes out of the bookshop, and stares at Dustfinger) Hello, Silvertongue. (Meggie turns around) I was just having a talk with your daughter.

Dustfinger (after Farid annouced he was going with Dustfinger): What about the girl? I thought you liked her.
Farid: Oh, don't worry. (pulls out a wallet containing pictures of Meggie; somewhat satisfied) I stole his wallet.

Basta (after he attempted to attack Meggie): Get off!
Dustfinger: No one gets hurt! (starts setting fire on Basta's jacket)
Basta (terrified): F-fire! Fire!
Dustfinger: Is that what we agreed on? Is that what we agreed on?!
Basta: Yes! We agreed! We agreed! We agreed! (Dustfinger takes his hands off Basta's shoulders, thus the fire dying down; Basta fearfully pats out the remaining flames)

Mo: What are you not telling me?
Dustfinger (walking away): I've seen her...she's not actually in the book...she's...
Mo: Where?
Dustfinger (stopping and turning to face Mo): In Capricorn's castle.
Mo: And you didn't tell us?
Dustfinger: We needed the book.
Mo: We didn't need the book!
Dustfinger: I needed the book!! (shoves Mo)
Meggie: My Mum was right there and you didn't tell us?
Dustfinger: Look... don't look at me like that, because if your father had known the truth, then he would never have agreed to help me get the book, and I need the book!
Mo: You selfish, repugnant, weak character!
Dusfinger: I... (pointing at Fegnolio) blame him! He wrote me that way!
Fegnolio: I disagree!
Mo: You tell me how to get her back!
Dustfinger: Not until you promise to send me home.
Mo (grabbing Dustfinger): Tell me how to get her back!
Dustfinger (quietly): I'm missing my family too.
Mo (looks shocked, lets Dustfinger go): Okay.
Dustfinger: Promise?
Mo: Promise.

Basta(delivering Meggie's dinner): Food for the little princess. Capricorn wants you to have your energy for tonight.
Fenoglio: You should stay; we're telling ghost stories. (Basta flinches) Oh, that's right. You don't like ghost stories.
Basta: I'll give you ghost stories!

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