The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Hugo Cabret lives in a busy Paris train station, brought there by his uncle, the station's clock-keeper, after his father died in a fire. His drunken uncle disappeared so Hugo survives by maintaining the clocks to avoid notice and stealing to survive. His world goes into chaos when he's caught by an eccentric toymaker, Georges Méliès, who holds his father's notebook hostage, which he needs to fix an automaton his father was trying to restore before his death, in exchange for help in the shop. Hugo and the Mr. Méliès's goddaughter, Isabelle, find strange connections between the automaton and toymaker, prompting them to discover more. They find that he was actually a magician and moviemaker before setting up shop in the train station. When Hugo's uncle's body is found, Hugo's anonymous life and freedom is in jeopardy. Although now discovered and caught by the station inspector, Mr. Méliès saves Hugo and then adopts him. Hugo has helped Mr. Méliès to make peace with his past and he has given Hugo a family and future again.

Problems identified by students:

  • Hugo's shoes click when he walks
  • Hugo spends a lot of time checking and winding the clocks
  • Hugo and Isabelle need to break into the Méliès' dresser
  • The station inspector is able to break into Hugo's room
  • Hugo is caught stealing when he drops the milk he was trying to get away with
  • Hugo is easily followed through the vents and into the service ways

Solutions designed by students:

  • Mechanisms to automatically wind the clocks
  • A storage box to hide the notebook and keep it safe
  • Booby traps to protect his room
  • Creating obstacles in the service ways to trip up people chasing Hugo
  • Ways to break out of the station jail cell