Finally got around to seeing Hugo. This is Martin Scorsese‘s first 3D movie, let alone his first PG-13 movie in a while. It’s about a boy named Hugo Cabret (played by Asa Butterfield) who keeps all the clocks in a Paris railway station running in 1931. Hugo is an orphan and doing it all by himself, but he’s got a mission to repair an automaton. He scrounges and steals gears and spare parts, one such attempt he gets caught by Papa Georges (played by Ben Kingsley), the toy shop owner. From there Hugo begins to unravel the mystery behind Georges and the automaton.
The good; it’s visually amazing. Good job Scorsese in taking a venture in to the 3D and the PG realm. Butterfield is marvelous as an actor, there’s a sense of an old soul wrapped up in this boy. There’s a particular scene where Hugo’s expectantions aren’t met and the contained frustration that’s converyed really shocked me. His female counter part in the movie is played by Chloe Grace Moretz, you may remember her from 500 Days of Summer and Kick-Ass, she’s growing up to be a force in Hollywood.
The pacing of the film is purposefully slow and I appreciate that, it allowed me to soak in the scenery and ambiance. The setting is that of post WWI France, so there’s a lot thrown in as far as colors and set design. Given the slower pacing also allowed the audience to figure things out, and accompany the cast on this journey, when a film can do that I always like to take note.
I won’t give too much away, but for any film school students of film historians Hugo is a love letter to the silent era… maybe that is giving too much away… ?
The bad; I’d say the marketing… again. It seems that I’ve always got a problem the way films are promoted these days. There are certain aspects in Hugo that I was very very pleasantly surprised with when I actually watched the movie, and none of those things were anywhere in the trailer(s).
There’s one thing I do have to nit pick… *SPOILER* it’s at the end with the whole flashback connection between Hugo, his father and Papa George. It felt almost too easy. And I know a lot of it is based in reality, so it’s hard to seperate reality from the fiction in this case. I just found it a little… odd, and it made me think about it for an abnormal amount of time afterwards. But that’s enough about that. *END SPOILER*
Overall, I highly recommend this film, it’s worth seeing in the theatres, if only to transport you to another place and time. But also for the common man, you’ll be educated in some fim history as well (referencing these films; Safty Last!, Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat, A Trip To the Moon, The Kiss, The General, The Thief of Bagdad…). It felt almost poetic that the first film was shown in Hugo as the first “thrill” and now there’s 3D for the next “thrill.” Go see Hugo.