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
What Martin Scorcese has managed to do is add story dimensionality to a family film that has 3D technology. Some of the dimensions he's included which don't always make into Hollywood blockbusters are an imaginative and original concept, thematic unity and resonance and deft homage to film itself, in the story of Georges Méliès, French film pioneer.
Saw the film in an advance screening and we were among the many there who were obviously not standard family film consumers. This being a Scorcese film is likely to bring lots of adults to Hugo and I would think many of them, like me, will feel the film stands up as entertainment for all age groups.
I especially enjoyed the resonance and intricacy of the theme of clocks, clockworks, animatronics and "the ghost in the machine"--our fear, in the post industrial age that perhaps we are just a rather complex machine, rather than a divine creation. This is all beautifully rendered cinematically. I doubt the little ones will be bewildered while older viewers can pick out levels and layers in the film.
Good fun and visually interesting throughout. The 3D is used in service of the story. I hope Hollywood is watching and notices that special effects are only special when they get the heart of the machine working, like Hugo's little man.
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