Re-Watch: Inkheart (2008)

Director: Iain Softley
Writer: David Lindsay-Abaire
Based on: Cornelia Funke’s novel
Cast: Eliza Bennett, Brendan Fraser, Paul Bettany, Sienna Guillory, Jim Broadbent, Helen Mirren, Rafi Gavron, Andy Serkis, Jennifer Connelly
Seen on: 1.1.2022
[Here’s my first review of the film.]
[Here are my reviews of the entire trilogy this is based on.]

Content Note: racism

Meggie (Eliza Bennett) and her bookbinder father Mo (Brendan Fraser) have always lived rather withdrawn lives surrounded by books, traveling around where Mo’s work is needed. This gives Mo a chance to look for a rare book. Just when he finds a copy, Dustfinger (Paul Bettany) shows up. It’s clear that he is actually an old acquaintance of Mo’s. He warns of Capricorn (Andy Serkis) and his men who are coming for Mo. Meggie and Mo immediately head towards her greataunt Elinor (Helen Mirren). But Dustfinger is right behind them as he desperately needs something from Mo: his ability to read things out of books. It’s that ability that Capricorn is looking for, too and that puts all of them in danger.

Now that I finally finished (re-)reading the trilogy, I wanted to watch the film again, too. It is still a sweet adventure film that captures the essence of the book very nicely, albeit overshooting the goal a little.

The film poster showing Mo (Brendan Fraser) reading from a book. A golden glitterwave curls up from the book, and in it are a unicorn and the other main characters.
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Tintentod (Cornelia Funke)

Tintentod, translated as Inkdeath, is the third book in the Inkworld Trilogy by Cornelia Funke.
Finished on: 8.12.2021
[Here are my reviews of the other two books.]

Things in the Inkworld are still pretty dire. Politically, Mo’s plan has backfired severely, and Mo himself becomes the Bluejay more and more, much to Resa’s and Meggie’s worry. Farid is still desperately trying to bring Dustfinger back to life, and has pledged himself to Orpheus in the hope that he can achieve it. Fenoglio is still unable to write. And for all the people in the Inkworld, the Adderhead and his people become increasingly more dangerous. Something has got to change and very soon, or it will be too late.

Tintentod is a really great ending for the story, that makes good use of the pieces it put into play and gives satisfaction – despite a couple of issues I had with it.

The book cover showing a mosaic of illustrated letters like at chapter beginnings. There's ea caste in the midle of a lake, a snowy forest, a unicorn jumping out of the pages of a book and a woman walking along a pillar hallway.
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Re-Read: Tintenblut (Cornelia Funke)

Tintenblut, translated as Inkspell, is the second book in the Inkworld Trilogy by Cornelia Funke.
Finished on: 9.9.2021
[Here’s my review of the first book.]
[Here’s my first review of this book.]

Dustfinger has finally found somebody who promises to read him back into his book – Orpheus. Orpheus keeps his promise, but also double-crosses him. So Farid stays behind and the book falls into the hand of Mortola and Basta. Farid knows he has to catch up with Dustfinger to warn him, so he returns to Meggie who lives with her parents Mo and Resa, as well as her aunt Elinor and the reader Darius in Elinor’s estate. When Farid tells her about Dustfinger returning, Meggie is dead-set on going to the Inkworld herself – together with Farid, of course. But she’s not the only one looking for a way in. And once in, the Inkworld is not without its own dangers.

Much like the first novel, Tintenblut is not the easiest read and it does take a while to get through it (and that’s not just because it’s a pretty long book). But I did like how Funke continues her world and her characters. I’m looking forward to the grand finale.

The book cover showing a mosaic of illustrated letters like at chapter beginnings. There's also twi figures under a tree at night, a portrait of a lady, the toers of a castle, a bird sitting on an open book, and a few figures around an open fire in the forest.
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Re-Read: Tintenherz (Cornelia Funke)

Tintenherz, translated as Inkheart, is the first novel of the Inkworld trilogy by Cornelia Funke.
Finished on: 26.7.2021
[Here’s my first review.]

Meggie and her bookbinder father Mo have always lived rather withdrawn lives surrounded by books. When a stranger shows up on their doorstep one night and introduces himself as Dustfinger, it’s clear that he is actually an old acquaintance of Mo’s. He warns of Capricorn and his men who are coming for Mo, and the very next day, Meggie and Mo pack their stuff and head towards her greataunt Elinor, Dustfinger in tow. Elinor lives even more withdrawn and with even more books. But danger follows them even there because there is something that Mo can do and that Capricorn desperately needs.

Tintenherz is a book for people, especially kids, who really do love books and reading. Not just because of the contents of the book, but also because it’s not a quick read and you need some patience to read it. But I think it pays off.

The book cover showing a mosaic of illustrated letters like at chapter beginnings. There's also a castle, shadowy figures in front of a fire, an open book and a weasel standing on a book.
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Tintenblut [Inkspell] (Cornelia Funke)

Inkspell is the second book in the Inkworld Trilogy by Cornelia Funke. (Review of the first book here, review of the movie adaptation of the first book here.)

[Please be aware that the plot basically starts where Inkheart left off, so you will read spoilers for Inkheart if you read on.]

Meggie lives with both her parents, her aunt Elinor and Darius in Elinor’s house. Resa still has no voice, but she tells Meggie about the Inkworld with her hands as often as she cans.
In the meantime moves Farid with Dustfinger around. They have a copy of Inkheart and are looking for someone who can finally bring Dustfinger home. They seem to find that person in Orpheus. He does read Dustfinger back, but he cheats on him and leaves Farid in our world.
Farid goes to Meggie for help and together they enter the Inkworld, followed by Mo, Resa, Mortola and Basta.

Inkspell, like Inkheart, is an exciting romp, and the proof that thought experiments can be really entertaining. The characters are great, the story is exciting and the world is interesting. Sometimes it gets a bit long, though.


[SPOILERS for Inkspell and Inkheart]

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Inkheart (2008)

Inkheart – the adaptation of the book by Cornelia Funke, which I reviewed here – left me with mixed feelings. On the one hand, it was inspired. On the other hand, it didn’t treat the original material very carefully and stood in its own way.

[This review contains SPOILERS!]

[Oh, and it kind of kept on growing, so it’s more of an in-depth analysis than a review.]


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Tintenherz (Inkheart) – Cornelia Funke

Inkheart is the first novel of the Inkworld trilogy by Cornelia Funke. It’s a fantasy novel written for a young adult audience.

The story follows Meggie,  a 12 year old girl, who lives with her father Mortimer, a book binder. One night, a mysterious old friend of Mortimer’s turns up – Dustfinger. The next day, they leave their home with Dustfinger, to visit Meggie’s greataunt Elinor. Elinor is an obsessive book collector and has little contact with the outside world, except when buying books. 
Soon, it’s clear that Mo is running from Capricorn and that Dustfinger works for him. And then Meggie discovers that when Mo reads aloud, the things he reads about come to live. Literally.  


It’s a very engaging read with plausible characters, if sometimes a little one-dimensional and character development. The story is interesting; I – as probably anybody else who ever read a book they couldn’t get enough of – love the concept of things coming to life (and isn’t it a wonderful metaphor?) by reading them.

There’s a quote at the beginning of each chapter, from writers like Toni Morrison, Michael Ende and Robert Louis Stevenson (among others). The quotes are very well chosen and give you a sense of the chapters, as well as making you want to read/revisit the books .

The ending is very good – giving closure to the story ark started in Inkheart, while at the same time setting up the sequel, Inkspell (Tintenblut).

My major criticism is the German edition. First, you can only get them in Hardcover at about € 20,- each, which is a helluva lot money and plain unnecessary (the English edition is in paperback already; the book’s five years old; so why?). Fine, Hardcover it is. But when I get a Hardcover, I want a nicer cover [the cover’s not bad but it could have been a lot better]. And – at that’s really my biggest complaint – there’s a drawing at the end of each chapter, which is great. But why do they start to repeat themselves? I mean, if it’s for some special reason, I didn’t get it. And if it depends more on the space left on the page (and that’s what it looks like), then give me new drawings for each chapter, because I just paid you 20 bucks. Suckers.

— — —

There’s a movie with an excellent cast:

  • Brendan Fraser as Mortimer Folchart
  • Eliza Bennett as Meggie Folchart
  • Paul Bettany as Dustfinger
  • Andy Serkis as Capricorn
  • Jim Broadbent as Fenoglio
  • Helen Mirren as Elinor Loredan
  • It’s scheduled to come out in January in the US, next week in Europe.