Hugo is an orphan boy living in the walls of a train station in 1930s Paris. He learned to fix clocks and other gadgets from his father and uncle which he puts to use keeping the train station clocks running. The only thing that he has left that connects him to his dead father is an automaton (mechanical man) that doesn't work without a special key. Hugo needs to find the key to unlock the secret he believes it contains. On his adventures, he meets George Melies, a shopkeeper, who works in the train station, and his adventure-seeking god-daughter. Hugo finds that they have a surprising connection to his father and the automaton, and he discovers it unlocks some memories the old man has buried inside regarding his past. Written by
Brilliance, wonder, magic, heart, a bit of everything.
So I saw this film today, and I was blown away. I'll admit that the trailer didn't impress me much, and if you do come out of it thinking that Hugo is just for kids, it's not. It's so much more than that. I had heard of Martin Scorsese directing a 3-D picture, but I didn't realize it was this very adaptation. The book was a wonderful experience (go read it - the pictures within are like a film by itself!), and I can't believe I didn't think the 3-D medium would work for it.
Absolutely brilliant. From the very first scene, you get a sense of how Scorsese is able to tap into the charm of 3-D - the essence of it - which is so easily lost amidst the abundance of films that get slapped with the 3-D label, but in a less cash-greedy industry need not warrant the extra surcharge. Scorsese takes his time to immerse the audience in Paris, in the train station, in Hugo's everyday surroundings that may seem almost ordinary to him by this point but for us, it's a whole different world. At times I forgot I was watching a live-action film because some of it was just so vibrant (yes, even with the automatic dimming of your 3-D glasses).
The cast was wonderful - Asa Butterfield as the main lead, has got such expressive eyes that you feel the hurt when he thinks of his father (played by Jude Law), which is very often. Chloe Moretz partners him very well as a fellow adventurer, and of course, you've also got: Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helen McCrory, etc. to round out the characters.
It's such a fantastical but genuine story that you can't help but fall in love with it, I think. Scorsese has brought a boy's dream to life but also written a love letter to film-making. I won't spoil anything outside of the trailer for fear of diminishing the magic, but I needed to write a somewhat coherent review to get my thoughts down, and hopefully persuade more people to watch the film! There's heart, there's magic, there's wonder, there's enjoyment, there's a little bit of everything for everyone to love in this. Some parts had me misty-eyed with the wonderful score and the ode to the joy of film.
And I know the mandatory 3-D will deter people but this film is one of those rare ones (and at the moment the only film so far this year that I can think of ) that extols the virtue of 3-D. I WEAR GLASSES SO I HAVE TO PUT 3-D GLASSES OVER MY OWN PAIR AND I WASN'T ANNOYED AT ALL - IT WAS WELL WORTH IT. So I'm speaking for that crowd right now. I know there are plenty of us out there! The genius of Scorsese strikes here, so pop in and have an adventure. :)
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