Created on Wednesday, 29 February 2012 19:42
Editor's Note: The following reflects the opinion of the author.
Brian Selznick's novel "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" may be one of the few books that actually lends itself to a cinematic adaptation.
The book is the inspiration for "Hugo," a film version that will screen this weekend at I.G. Greer.
The film does vary slightly from the book, which delves into early film, the beauty of clockwork and the first form of mechanical robots, known as automatons.
Set in the 1930s, the novel tells the story of Hugo Cabret, a young boy living and working in a train station - and, of course, involved in a historical adventure.
"The Invention of Hugo Cabret" illustrates the magic of an era and introduces readers to the French film artist Georges Méliès, who is the main source of inspiration for the book.
The movie isn't identical to the book, but it does provide some delightful advantages. Directed by Martin Scorsese, it brings to life the cinema-inspired atmosphere of the novel.
The film is strengthened by the inclusion of clips from Méliès's films, which are really wonderful to watch. Méliès was also a magician and his films are very much a reflection of his fantasy-driven imagination.
Senior social sciences education major Bekah Whilden praised the Oscar-winning director's adaptation of the book.
"Martin Scorsese does a really good job of interpreting the story," Whilden said. "He still left a little bit to the imagination and though the book did more of that, he still let the story tell itself. He let the movie play out like it did in the book."
At around 500 pages, the book is a surprisingly fast read and probably involves no more than two solid hours of reading time, thanks to Selznick's illustrations. The book's artistic elements draw on inspiration from early French cinema and the tangible experience of watching movies.
The pages, surrounding blocks of type, are black to emulate the feeling of sitting in a dark theater.
The book unfolds before the reader just as a movie would. The first image - and consequently the last - is a picture of the moon. The images progressively pan away and introduce the reader to their setting (Paris) and finally land on a boy (Hugo Cabret). From there, the story continues to unwind.
And the story is wonderful.
Selznick has illustrated and been awarded for several children's books. "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" was awarded the Caldecott Medal and is peppered with full-page illustrations. In total, 284 pages of the book are singularly dedicated to Selznick's gorgeous pencil drawings.
"Hugo" and the book on which it's based are two different mediums which offer two different advantages - but both are easy to love.
Screenings at I.G. Greer will take place at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
Rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars
Story: EMMALEE ZUPO, Senior Lifestyles Reporter