The holidays are around the corner, and the offering of children’s movies often grow at this time. I usually cringe when I hear about a children’s book being turned into a movie. Not because the movie infrequently lives up to the book, but rather because children read or listen to the book with preconceived images from the movie. They miss the opportunity to create images from their own imaginations and the text. Sometimes, however, it really doesn’t matter.
This weekend I saw the movie Hugo (based on the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick) and I was pleasantly surprised. The movie Hugo, is directed by Martin Scorsese. I wasn’t surprised because I was expecting the carnage one is used to in his movies (Goodfellas, Gangs of New York). I was surprised at how this beautiful book was transformed to film and still managed to capture the magical elements in its storytelling.
For those familiar with the book, it is a visual feast. The movie is too. Scorsese doesn’t imitate the book. The movie is quite different in style. Instead he uses the same elements of visual storytelling. There are long moments in the film, like the book, where there is no dialogue, but the plot advances beautifully. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t either read the book or seen the movie. In this rare case, I don’t think it matters which one you do first, both are exceptional.