Adapted from Cornelia Funke's much cherished children's fantasy book of the same name, 'The Thief Lord' would seem to offer much to those counting down the days to Harry Potter's next big screen adventure. If only.

When their mother passes away brothers Prosper (Johnson) and Bo (Harris) are separated, with the older brother going to a boarding school and younger Bo forced to live with his nasty aunt (Boyd) and uncle (Goody).

When Prosper runs away he takes Bo with him and the two travel to Venice. There they meet The Thief Lord (Weeks), a mysterious teenager who steals on demand and hides out with a group of orphans in the city. Before they've had time to catch their breath the brothers are mixed up in a heist plan involving a magical treasure - while also trying to dodge a bumbling private investigator (MacKay) and their aunt and uncle.

Director Claus captures Venice beautifully but, along with some below-par action, there are other annoying things about 'The Thief Lord' that no amount of nice backdrops can compensate for. While the movie is set in Venice, everyone has an English accent - a stylistic decision that becomes more grating as the film progresses. Then there's Weeks, he just doesn't have the charisma for the role of The Thief Lord and it's left to Johnson to become the most engaging aspect of the film. Perhaps if the roles had been reversed this would've been a different story.

As it is, no-one at Hogwarts should be having any sleepless nights.

Harry Guerin