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The rare movie better than the book . . .

  • Mar 3, 2012
. . . .which perhaps makes perfect sense for a book about one of the directors who created the history of movies and a movie by a director who has made history with his movies.  Scorsese's Hugo is a near-perfect snow globe of a movie, where the eye is drawn to the incandescent cinematography and down through the three dimensions of his holographic images to show the inner workings of the machines of Hugo Cabret.  Flat paper never stood a chance in this showdown of artistry.

The basic story is simple, almost a fable-istic, not to say fatalistic.  Hugo is a young orphaned boy taken in by his drunken uncle who tends the clocks at a busy Paris train station.  He learns to tend the clocks and then to fend for himself when his uncle goes on a final fatal bender.  Hugo's only prized possession is a mysterious broken automaton discovered by his father in a museum attic, and how to fix it, how to identify its purpose, and how to understand what it means becomes Hugo's purpose.

But nothing fatalistic--the machines of the title, I believe are the roles each of us play with a purpose in life.  Knowing that purpose, and fulfilling it without "spare parts"--there are no spare parts, says Hugo, we all have a purpose--is Hugo's passion for living.  It is why I said in my quick review of the movie that it is the one movie I have seen of the 2011 Oscar nominees that made me happiest to be alive.  

The book attempts to transcend its flat paper limitations with its imagination and artistry and does a creditable job that is only dimmed by the movie's brilliance.  While it is dauntingly thick for a "kid's" book (we need to stop genre-defining things into attempted irrelevance), many of the pages are isolated artworks framed on the paper.  The 500+ pages can be read in an hour.  

The book rewards that hour.  The movie is worth even more.  Spend the time.

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March 06, 2012
Interesting read!
More The Invention of Hugo Cabret reviews
review by . November 24, 2009
"The Invention of Hugo Cabret" is an amazing book. It tells the story of a boy who's orphaned, taken in by his miserable uncle, and then orphaned again. It's a story ultimately about faith and persistence and trust. The faith and persistence not being Hugo's, but rather those who stand firmly enough against the boy's rejection, that he finds that eventually he can trust once again.    The book is huge, by the way, with over 500 pages, but they aren't filled with text. Instead …
About the reviewer
Todd Stockslager ()
Ranked #38
I love reading and writing about what I have read, making the connections and marking the comparisons and contrasts. God has given man the amazing power to invent language and the means to record it which … more
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About this book


Book Description:
Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo's undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo's dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.From Publishers Weekly
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ISBN-10: 0439813786
ISBN-13: 978-0439813785
Author: Brian Selznick
Genre: Children's Books
Publisher: Scholastic Press
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