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The Invention of Hugo Cabret

December 2, 2011

Also known as just plain Hugo, in the movie version.

Hugo Cabret is an orphan who lives in a train station in Paris.  After his uncle disappears, he has to keep all the clocks in the station running himself or else somebody will notice something is wrong and drag him off to the orphanage.  When he tries to steal clock parts from the old man who runs a toy shop in the station, he gets tangled up in the mystery of the man’s past.

The movie Hugo is an adaptation of one epic of a weighty book.  It’s 533 pages long and more graphic novel than straight-up text, full of lavishly rendered charcoal drawings.  The visuals in this movie live up to that book.  Go see this film if only to check out some of the fly-through shots.  Did I mention that most of the book takes place in a train station?  In Paris?  With lots of giant gears and automatons and clock-y things?  Eee!

… oh, right.  The story.  It is also quite good.  The scriptwriters tried to keep everything that was in the book and add in a few more things besides, so the plot is a bit involved.  Christopher Lee makes a delightful cameo as a train station bookseller.  “Hello, I’m a benevolent old man with a sephulchral voice.  Would you like a book?”  Another highlight is the guy who is ostensibly the bad guy, the station inspector.  He is much more fleshed out in the movie than the book, where he was not much more than a pair of prying eyes.  What with all the inspector’s hapless attempts to bring Hugo to “justice,” he’s too adorable for anybody to take him seriously as a villain.

Also, this movie got a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes.  Go see it.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 2, 2011 10:37 PM

    The movie itself runs a bit long at 127 minutes, but Hugo is worth every minute for the visual feast it provides, and features Scorsese in probably his most delightful and elegant mood ever, especially with all of the beautiful 3-D. Good review.

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