After dallying with greenscreen in The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor and Journey To The Center Of The Earth, Brendan Fraser rounds out his 2008 trilogy of unexceptional fantasy flicks in this adaptation of Cornelia Funke’s novel.
The star plays Mo Folchart, a book collector who has a phenomenal ability – he can bring fictional characters to life just by reading aloud. What a brilliant skill to have, you say?
Wrong. The problem is that not everyone feels happy to be transported out of their imaginary universes, putting Mo and 12-year-old daughter Meggie (Eliza Bennett), a ‘Silvertongue’ too it transpires, at the mercy of grumpy fire-juggler Dustfinger (Paul Bettany), evil mastermind Capricorn (Andy Serkis) and a host of others.
With Jim Broadbent, Jamie Foreman and Dame Helen Mirren rounding out the cast, Iain Softley’s film comes fully stocked with fruity supporting turns.
What it doesn’t have, unfortunately, is a story interesting enough to justify all the breakneck racing across mainland Europe en route to a thoroughly unenchanting climax.