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
The driving force behind the film was Martin Scorsese's young daughter Francesca Scorsese who presented him a copy of the Brian Selznick book as a birthday gift hoping that he would make a film out of it someday. It was also her suggestion to have the film presented in 3D format. Rather than having the 3D accomplished by post-conversion, Scorsese decided to have it shot in native format, so together with VFX supervisor Robert Legato and cinematographer Robert Richardson, they spent (before filming) about two weeks at the Cameron/Pace group doing a crash course on filming in that format. See more »
Most of the many Georges Méliès excerpts seen in the film were made prior to 1910. Their accompanying piano music is the song "By the Waters of the Minnetonka" by Thurlow Lieurance, first published in 1913. But as these were silent films, and so would not have contained soundtracks, whatever music accompanied a screening of such a film would either be performed live or played from, say, a phonograph. So it is perfectly reasonable for this film to portray a older silent movie being screened with slightly newer music. See more »
I've got to go!
You'll go nowhere until your parents are found.
I don't have any!
Then it's straight to the orphanage with you! You'll learn a thing or two there. I certainly did. How to follow orders, how to keep to yourself. How to survive without a family, because you don't need one! You don't need a family!
[as Gustav makes a call to the orphanage, Hugo breaks out of the cell and escapes]
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There is only one opening credit, the film's title, which does not appear until nearly 15 minutes into the film. See more »
I attended the DGA screening over the weekend, followed by a Q&A moderated by James Cameron. Cameron's first words (after correctly referring to Scorsese as "maestro"), were "I thought we'd just geek out over 3D for a half hour, but having seen the movie... it's a masterpiece." I brought my ten year old daughter, who sat -- if anything -- even more transfixed than I did. Every single image is arresting, the use of 3D is perfection itself, the story is engaging and thrilling and heartbreaking and uplifting and I never wanted it to end. If only it'd be three hours! All the performances are excellent, including the kids. Great British actors appear in roles with only a line or two, but it helps lift the movie into the realm of Instant Classic, and Sacha Baron Cohen brings nuance and heart to his humorous role as the Station Inspector. On the way to the car my daughter asked if we could get the blu-ray when it's available, and I had the same feeling as well.
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