I went to see the movie Hugo today. I couldn't decide if I wanted to see that or The Muppets, and ultimately it was the showtime that decided it, and also whether I saw it in 3D, although I kind of wanted to anyway because that's the way it was meant to be seen. My philosophy on 3D in movies, as I've said elsewhere, is that it's sometimes an enhancement, never a necessity, and often just a distraction. In this case I think it was an enhancement, but I noticed that it seems to take a lot more energy to watch a movie in 3D because your brain isn't used to processing information that way. Or mine isn't, anyway. I suppose that if one watched 3D movies all the time one would eventually get used to it.
Anyway, I was really looking forward to the movie because I read the book a few months ago and really enjoyed it. As is often the case with movie adaptations, they left some stuff out of the book and added some stuff, and some stuff from the book appeared in the movie but in a way that didn't make sense, at least to me. I wasn't surprised that they left stuff out even if two-thirds of the book is pictures, and for the most part I was not disappointed by it; in some cases, it actually improved the story, in my opinion. There is a dream sequence in the movie that, as far as I remember, did not appear in the book (although it used elements from the book) and served no discernible purpose as far as I can see other than to give the effects people something (more) to do, and there was a scene developing a romance between the station inspector and the girl selling flowers which seemed to exist for no other purpose than to give Sasha Baron Cohen and Emily Mortimer more to do. And (I suppose it's not a spoiler to say this because it is pictured on the posters) there is a scene in which Hugo dangles precariously from the hands of a large clock, which I'm pretty sure doesn't happen in the book, and it seemed a little bit forced in the movie because it's a bit of a cliché, but it still works because this is a movie celebrating the early days of film when the clichés were still new and innovative.
I feel that the book was more logically effective, but the movie was more emotionally effective. The book was very sad in parts, but I don't remember actually crying while reading it (although I do cry rather often so it's sometimes hard to keep track of), but I cried quite a bit at the movie. It's one thing to read about the trials and tribulations of a poor little orphan boy, but it's another thing entirely to watch a little boy who looks so much like Elijah Wood did 20 years ago crying out all his sorrow and frustration, to watch the tears well up in those shockingly blue eyes.
During the credits, I saw that Johnny Depp was listed as a producer and thought to myself, "Oh, I didn't know that; that's awesome!" but just now I was looking at the cast list and Johnny Depp is listed as an actor as well, and I'm saying to myself, "Wait, what? Who was he? Where was that?" I didn't notice him at all, so I now I hope I can watch it again at some point, now that I know to look for him.
Anyway, I heartily, heartily recommend the film. The book was quite good but it was very clear from the tone that its intended audience was children, but the movie is for everyone, and anyone with even the remotest interest in film history should really enjoy it.