Inkheart 2008

Critics score:
38 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: Inkheart was a busy, crowded, hugely successful book to start with....the film version retains nearly all of author Cornelia Funke's story complications. It's a mixed bag and a serious load for a movie to carry. Read more

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post: The aesthetics of Inkheart are part of what make it such a surprisingly enjoyable experience to watch. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: It's handsomely mounted, with supporting turns by Helen Mirren as the girl's flinty aunt and Jim Broadbent as the author of the book that caused so much fuss. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: Inkheart may not be rotten to the core -- instead of maggots, the fantasy adventure seethes with good intentions -- but the overripeness of its special effects can't be overstated. Read more

Tom Keogh, Seattle Times: A brisk and engaging adventure for kids who love books as well as for those who don't. Read more

Tasha Robinson, AV Club: Inkheart won't make people forget Princess Bride, but it may give them pleasant flashbacks while it rollicks through its own bookish adventures. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: 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. Read more

Wesley Morris, Boston Globe: Inkheart illustrates an obvious problem with making a movie about the joys of reading when the movie made is labored and sludgy looking: Why bother seeing it if you can stay home and read a book instead? Read more

Sheri Linden, Los Angeles Times: Inkheart is a valentine to books mainly by negative example -- the leaps of imagination it doesn't achieve. Read more

Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle: The film's storybook Alpine vistas are lovely to behold, and bits of humor pop out in welcome moments. Other than that, it never quite springs to life as intended -- not in your kitchen, and not on screen. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: Even if it can't quite conjure up the movie magic it intends, Inkheart does serve as public service announcement promoting literacy. And as such, your kids could do a lot worse at the cineplex. Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: The story is a whirl, a jumble, an effusion -- sometimes flowing smoothly, other times jerking along as if the filmmaker has been given advice he resents regarding pacing and the balance of sweetness and danger. Read more

Christine Champ, Read more

Christy Lemire, Associated Press: Whimsy shouldn't be overwhelming. Read more

Nancy Churnin, Dallas Morning News: Much of this comes across as a labor of love, with a classy cast frolicking in Iain Softley's whimsical direction of a lushly imagined adaptation by David Lindsay-Abaire. Read more

Amy Nicholson, I.E. Weekly: We leave doubly convinced that words are better left squat, inert, and black on the page Read more

Rafer Guzman, Newsday: Entertaining enough for young teens, but a little more thought could have made it appealing to adults as well. Read more

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News: A kids' adventure movie can be a lot of things -- wild and woolly, loosey-goosey, full of foolishness -- but they should never be shabby. And that's the best word for Inkheart. Read more

Kyle Smith, New York Post: A flea market of fairy tales and hocus-pocus, Inkheart makes as much sense as an inkblot. Read more

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: While we can appreciate the decent effects, the bang-up settings and a good cast, we can only hope they got some sight-seeing in on their days off. Whatever magic there was on this shoot is probably in their home movies. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: It's the limitations of the film when considering the nearly limitless possibilities suggested by the premise that make Inkheart a disappointment. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: No child seeing Inkheart will ever want to be read to again. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Over and over again, characters in Inkheart wax eloquent on the power of books. But there's nothing in the movie as haunting or as compelling as the sound they make when they speak for themselves. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: Seemingly intended as a celebration of the power of books, it's an occasionally incoherent, sleep-inducing picture that reduces narrative to mere mechanics. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: The overqualified cast gives its all, but logical lapses and sober-sided direction siphon off the fun. Read more

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Read more

Kamal Al-Solaylee, Globe and Mail: As an adventure flick, Inkheart is not all that adventurous. It goes to places and falls on tropes that many fantasy films -- most notably but not exclusively the Lord of the Rings trilogy -- have covered. Read more

Linda Barnard, Toronto Star: [Has] plenty of thrills, a smart although oft-confusing script, delightful scenery-chewing scenes from stalwarts like Helen Mirren, Jim Broadbent and Andy Serkis, and a gorgeous high-concept visual style. Read more

Anna King, Time Out: Read more

David Jenkins, Time Out: It's a familiar tale, but one told with gusto, wit and visual flare. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: Much is made of the magic of literature in Inkheart, but the joys of losing yourself in reading are undermined by the movie's barrage of special effects and a convoluted plot. Read more

Justin Chang, Variety: A brisk, overstuffed adaptation of Cornelia Funke's international bestseller. Read more

Nick Pinkerton, Village Voice: It all smacks of that overdone 'passion for literature' common in English teachers who send any healthy-minded kid running from books. Read more