Last winter, Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island caused no end of moaning, groaning, and hand-to-forehead holding from critics who decided the legendary director had lost it. But I'd argue that an intense director who decides to tackle a children's book is far from gone, but someone who will never quit growing, experimenting, and turning out stuff that is distinct and original. In this day and age, that's something to worship, not gripe about.

That's a very long and defensive introduction to the news that Scorsese has started production on The Invention of Hugo Cabret, and that it has one heck of a cast. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jude Law, Ray Winstone, Christopher Lee, Frances de la Tour and Richard Griffiths have all joined Cabret. The cast already includes Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Asa Butterfield, Chloe Moretz and Helen McCrory. Plus, Johnny Depp is one of the producers, ensuring a few Tim Burton fans might be lured in to check out something without a Hot Topic line.

Cabret was penned by Brian Selznick, and was just released in 2007. It was the first novel to win the Caldecott Medal for illustrations -- suggesting it might be the ideal film for 3D -- and the National Book Award. The very pedigreed story takes place in the 1930s, and follows the orphaned Hugo, who resides in the walls of a busy Paris train station. He steals, keeps clocks, and cherishes secrets. Naturally, his odd little life is turned upside down when he meets new people -- in this case, a bookish young girl and a bitter old man -- and finds himself embroiled in a sad, family-oriented mystery.

The material is promising, the cast is excellent, and we're going to see Scorsese explore a new genre and new technology. How can you not be excited?