(Little disclaimer before we start: I usually always call movies by their original names – in this case it would be Inkheart. But seeing how Inkheart is based on a German book and I just can’t shake the book’s original name off me, I am going to call the movie like the book: Tintenherz.)

Messes and where they come from

It’s a movie about a book, based on a book, with characters from books. Not an easy task! Tintenherz could have been a revolution in movie making. Why? We have a very successful (at least in the US and Germany) author, Cornelia Funke, who promised fans she’d be keeping guard over her story and even signing up as producer of the movie. She cast Brendan Fraser herself, kept a close look on the scriptwriters… Nothing could go wrong.

But they did. This movie is a horrible mess. More than that: it is a horrible mess in the typical places where book-to-movie adaptions tend to be messes, but this mess is so inexplicable and so random that I for the life of me can’t seem to understand who made said mess and where it came from. Like having two cats, and one of them takes a dump on your carpet. It boggles the mind.

Where does this movie go wrong? Strangely enough – with a mediocre actor like Fraser at the helm of the performance ship – not in its casting. Every actor does a great job. The typical book-to-movie give-ins do apply: Meggie is actually a lot younger than the person playing her, Mo has the voice but not the looks… But one is used to that. Special kudos to Paul Bettany for playing the role of Staubfinger (Dustfinger) and doing a great job at it. He is one creepy guy. No kudos to Andy Serkis, who plays Capricorn in such a manner that he’s so unscary it’s laughable. And, oddly enough, the introduction of Capricorn in the movie (after about half an hour) is the point where things start going terribly, terribly wrong.

Now, I have to say I wasn’t the biggest fan of Capricorn while reading the book. He’s pretty dull, does little to nothing and isn’t really scary in my opinion. But he was never laughable – which is exactly what he is in the movie. Every other line is a joke – but not a good one. Now I realize this isn’t Serkis’ fault, but he performs the character in such a way that it becomes plain and boring at best.

Up to the point where we first see Capricorn, the movie is pretty decent: it’s moody, mildly scary (just like the book) and we search together with Meggie for the truth about her mother’s disappearance. But once we travel to Capricorn’s village, the movie repeatedly starts straying from the book. Why? There is only one possible explanation: every change has something to do with closing plotlines that were left open at the end of Tintenherz. Tintenherz is a trilogy – but Inkheart will probably never see a sequel. They made sure of that, and not just by means of making a poor movie.

In all…

I was honestly pissed off when I exited the movie theatre after seeing Tintenherz. This movie had just about everything it needed to be: a nice plot, source material that can be ported straight to the screen (it’s short and very little happens but it’s still exciting), good actors and a capable producer. But it wasn’t meant to be. And that pissed me off: bad movies are made all the time because incapable people get loads of money, but when capable people screw up like this… that pisses me off.

So Tintenherz: thank you for making me angry!


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