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Cherry Pop

(Brendan Fraser, Paul Bettany, Eliza Bennett, et al / DVD / PG / 2009 / New Line)

Overview: Mortimer "Mo" Folchart (Brendan Fraser) and his 12-year-old daughter, Meggie (Eliza Hope Bennett), share a passion for books. What they also share is an extraordinary gift for bringing characters from books to life when they read aloud. But there is a danger: when a character is brought to life from a book, a real person disappears into its pages.

DVD Verdict: Have you ever read a book whose characters are so vivid, so alive, so believable that they seemed to step off the page and into your living room? Or been so submerged in a story, so captivated, so enthralled that you felt as if you had disappeared into it? Well, if you are a Silver Tongue, it might actually happen. In the movie INKHEART, there are two such Silver Tongues, people who have the power to read a character right out of a book and into the real world. But there is a price. When a character comes out of a book, someone from the real world disappears into it.

Mo and his daughter, Meggie, have been searching for a very rare book for a very long time. Nine years ago, Mo accidentally read several evil villains out of the book into reality. Until that fateful night, Mo had no idea of that he possessed this special gift. Unfortunately, his wife disappeared into the book. Now, Mo has finally found another copy, and he is desperate to get his wife back. But what price must he pay this time?

I have not read the very popular INKHEART series of books by Cornelia Funke, but for me, this movie stands on its own and is extremely enjoyable. The premise is unique and clever, the pacing is just right, and I really had fun with the various characters and creatures from the Wizard of Oz, The Arabian Nights, Peter Pan, Greek mythology, and others popping into our world. Who among us has not wished that a favorite book could come to life? Well, if you have the power, they can. What book would YOU wish for?

The casting and acting in INKHEART is very well done. Brendan Fraser, who I always enjoy, does a very nice job as Mo - concerned for his daughter, terrified of unleashing more evil into the world, desperate to find his wife. Helen Mirren is fantastic and funny as Aunt Elinor, the perfect avenger of her odd little family. The rest of the cast is very pleasant and believable, whether they are from the real world or snatched out of fiction. Eliza Bennett, who plays Meggie, is delightful and lovely, and Rafi Gavron, one of Ali Baba's Forty Thieves, is very nice to look at.

As I previously stated, I have not read the books, but I do plan to do so. Never the less, I quite liked this movie; it is a fun and different sort of fantasy. In the spirit of full disclosure, I must say that my 11 year old daughter, who HAS read the books, is very disappointed. INKHEART is one of her favorite books, and she did not think the movie matched the book well enough. My husband, who listened to the INKHEART book on tape, felt that there were too many unnecessary changes, but still thought it was a pretty good movie. [KJ] This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Eliza Reads to Us - Actress Eliza Bennett ("Meggie Folchart") shares one of her favorite passages from the book that did not end up in the movie, accompanied by Cornelia illustrations of the story.