I mentioned recently being interested in the movie Hugo; well, I've become even more intrigued about the book on which it is based, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, so I got that out of the library. I had read that, at 500+ pages, it was the longest book ever to win a Caldecott medal. Well, I found it in the library in the children's section, in a special display of Caldecott winners, most of which are only about 20 or 30 pages long, so it was really easy to find on the shelf.
I really loved the book. The story is engaging and the illustrations are wonderful, soft and dreamy pencil drawings. The close-up pictures of people have light in their eyes; they seem so lifelike even though they are very obviously drawings that are not striving toward photorealism.
Recently I was reading something, I don't remember what, that mentioned the movie The NeverEnding Story and I thought, "Hey, I haven't seen that movie in years; I should watch it again." So I got it out of the library as well. I loved it when I was a child and I still love it. My soul has always hungered for fantasy, and The NeverEnding Story is a feast.
Watching it again now, I think the thing that I love most about it is that it uses puppetry and animatronics for its creature effects. Of course, they really had no choice in the matter since it was the early 1980s. To be clear, I have no objection to CGI in movies when it is well done, and it is increasingly well done. By which I mean that not only is it more often done well in more movies, but that the quality of the imagery itself continues to improve. (For example: in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Dobby looked kind of slick and cartoonish, but in Deathly Hallows--Part 1 his skin looked like real skin and he generally looked more like a humanoid creature of flesh and blood). And yet, there's something immensely satisfying to me about seeing imaginary creatures appearing onscreen with actual substance and seeing them physically, tactilely interact with human actors. There's a special kind of magic to that which
I'd like to read the book again. The movie The NeverEnding Story was based on the first half of the book. The sequel, The NeverEnding Story II, was based (more loosely, in my opinion) on the second half of the book. The first time I read the book, I kept getting distracted by the differences between the (second half of) the book and the sequel. Since I haven't seen the sequel for many, many years I no longer remember it as well, so hopefully it wouldn't be so distracting. For the record, there were differences between the first movie and the book too, but I don't remember being distracted by it.