The movie is based on the novel of the same title by Brian Selznick. It is the predecessor to his well-known screen adapted novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret. See more »
When Ben enters the rotunda of the American Museum of Natural History, he walks past the mounted skeletons of the Allosaurus attacking a Barosaurus defending its young, as seen in the museum today. However, this exhibit was not mounted until 1991, and wouldn't have been seen in 1977. See more »
Two deaf children run away from home, in search for a lost parent, but they are fifty years apart. Rose travels from New Jersey to New York in 1927, Ben makes the trip to the Big Apple from the Midwest in 1977. Both stories are told in alternating scenes, one in black and white and the other in colour. Soon the viewer learns that both stories will come together somewhere in the film.
The problem of the screenplay is that during most of the film, there is no suspense and nothing really dramatic happens. Two children traveling on their own to New York City is not really the most exciting thing to watch in a cinema theatre. It's nice to see how New York looked like in the twenties, and because Rose is deaf the film has the look and feel of a silent movie. Ben's part of the story is not very exciting either. When in New York, he starts a search for a bookshop which, he suspects, can offer clues about the whereabouts of his father.
When the story finally reaches its climax, you can't help but wondering if that's all there is. Moreover, the film takes too much time explaining all kinds of things that are not necessary for the story. The final part is designed as a sort of stop-motion film, but it feels like it's added afterward.
Apparently, the film is based on a popular children's book. I can only hope the book is better than the film.
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