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This is based on a book which I haven't read, by Cornelia Funke. I expect the book is better, but I'll probably never get around to reading it, and I liked the movie well enough, anyway. It starts out with some narration about the fact that there are some people in the world, called silvertongues, who, when they read a story aloud, may bring it to life in our world. And some silvertongues don't even know they have this power, until it's too late. The first scene we see is of a man named Mo Folchart (Brendan Fraser), and his wife, Resa. Mo reads a story to their baby daughter, Meggie, and we can see that he must be a silvertongue, though he doesn't know it. And presumably not much actually happens because of his reading... I suppose it may take some time to develop the ability before anything really major comes of it. But anyway, it's a brief scene, and then the story flashes forward 12 years. Mo and Meggie are traveling without Resa, who disappeared 9 years earlier. (I should mention it's a bit odd that the actress playing Meggie now is like 16, when she should be 12, but I suppose that kind of thing happens often in TV and movies.)
Um, so... apparently Mo has been looking everywhere he and Meggie go, trying to find a copy of a book called Inkheart, which was written by someone named Fenoglio. He finally finds a copy, after all these years, and then we meet a strange man named Dustfinger (Paul Bettany), who clearly has a past with Mo. Eventually we learn that 9 years earlier, Mo had been reading Inkheart, and various characters from the book appeared in our world, including Dustfinger, as well as a villain called Capricorn (Andy Serkis), and a bunch of his henchmen. And we learn that whenever someone comes out of a book, someone from our world goes into the book, which is what happened to Resa. (I don't really understand why it seems only one person went into the book if so many came out, but something happens at the end of the movie that makes me suppose it doesn't have to be a person for a person, it could be something far less significant trades places with a person.) Anyway, Mo wants to find a copy of the book so he can read Resa back into our world, and Dustfinger wants Mo to read him back into the book; we eventually see he has a wife or someone he loves, named Roxane (Jennifer Connelly), who he misses. But Capricorn has been making himself quite comfortable in our world, and doesn't want to go back. So he's been collecting any copies of Inkheart he can find, and destroying them. He also has a silvertongue named Darius (who has a stutter), who he's apparently forced to read lots of stories, and he has a castle, and a stable full of fictional creatures locked up.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Before we learn any of this, Mo takes Meggie to her great aunt Elinor's (Helen Mirren) home in Italy. However, because Mo had refused to help Dustfinger, he showed up with Capricorn's henchmen to kidnap Mo, Meggie, and Elinor, and take them to Capricorn's castle. So, Mo is finally forced to explain his ability to Meggie and Elinor. Later, Capricorn forces Mo to read a passage from Arabian Nights, which brings not only gold into the castle, but also a thief named Farid. After a while, Mo, Meggie, Elinor, Dustfinger, and Farid escape together, and Meggie suggests looking for Inkheart's author, Fenoglio. So, he eventually ends up helping all of them. And, for a reason I don't want to divulge, they have to return to Capricorn's castle, separately... And there are several plot developments I don't want to say anything about. I think at this point I've said enough. But plenty more happens before the end.
Anyway... I like the whole concept of silvertongues, though of course there are any number of other stories that have similar concepts of bringing fantasy into reality, and vice versa. This wasn't the best example of that type of story, but while it wasn't great, it was at least good. I definitely enjoyed the story and the characters were okay. And the special effects were decent. And... I guess that's all I can say.