Monday, August 19, 2013

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

I think it was a little more than a year ago that I saw the movie Hugo. I was attracted to it for two reasons: it looked absolutely breathtaking and the actor playing Hugo was the rather adorable little boy who played Mordred in BBC's Merlin. When I saw it, I was blown away by how beautiful it was (colors! scenery! architecture!) and I found the story endearing and magical. It was the type of sad, yet joyful, story line that I would have enjoyed as a child (I was a child who always enjoyed a dose of drama in her tales).

The book is rather large and thick, a bit overwhelming in fact, but most of the book is filled with drawings that can cover multiple pages at a time. The artistry is done in black and white and for me is a perfect layout for how the film is meant to be seen (and the film, to me, did follow the book quite closely). There is the usage of real photographs through out the book and overall, the passages having been broken up  by imagery was not something equating to a poor decision.

I know very little about the films of old and have never had much interest in it but this book, for me, made it interesting. Georges Méliès, a French filmmaker, has a major role in this story as does automation and the history of film. But what I liked the most was the story of Hugo Cabret. A child who is orphaned and left to live within the walls of a train station, he goes from clock to clock and winds them up every day. He lives completely on his own and manages to survive despite his young age. As a child, this type of story would have been something I would have eaten right up. Children, like me, being able to do things I didn't think I had the guts to do was always a sure way to gather my interest.

With the comparison to the movie, I feel it stayed true to the book right down to the random imagery of famous movies. It's upsetting at points -- I truly felt for Hugo many times and wanted to reach into the book and change the events taking place -- but the ending is quite warm and comforting.

For bookish children, I would suggest this book, as I feel they wouldn't be completely put off by the 500 pages. For children who are not quite into reading just yet... maybe approach the book with caution as the length could be startling. Yet, the book is filled with so many drawings that the story itself is much shorter than the length of the book. In that it may be a good transition for the would-be-reader.

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