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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Hugo is a beautifully made movie with great 3D effects. Yet with the
misleading advertising, the story that goes nowhere, and with over 2
hour runtime it is one hell of a boring movie.
Please do not believe 8.3 IMDb and 94% RT ratings, this movie one of the most overrated movies in the history of the film, the word 'history' is the key one here. When everything is said and done Hugo reveals itself as nothing but a cleverly disguised homage to one of the French pioneering movie directors, a subject interesting primarily for the movie history buffs.
As I said Hugo is hugely misrepresented in advertising. Every poster tells you that some Narnia type adventure is awaiting you. All the trailers were masterfully crafted to leave you with expectation of magical miracle. The words like 'quest' and 'mystery' are a part of Hugo's brief description on each and every site, just read what it says on IMDb. Furthermore the word "adventure" is lavishly sprinkled throughout the Hugo's first part. And yes, great Martin Scorsese is behind all of it, so what should you expect but a magical adventure on a grandeur scale ?
Sorry, you will get none of that. Yes, Hugo is like a charming 3D French postcard, but its not worth looking at for over 2 hours. 3D effects are well done, yet absolutely not required for this story that never leaves the setting of Paris train station.
While plot has some holes, the elephant in the room is that pretty much nothing happens in the movie with all these mechanical dolls, golden keys, and the visually rich Dickensian atmosphere. And be sure, there is absolutely no magic, or any type of adventure hidden here.
I am giving Hugo just one star to counter misleading ads and all those hypists that ether work for the studio, or easily hypnotized by big director's name. Please have few good games on your smartphone and bring a thermos with coffee if you decide to go see this snoozefest, you will need it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Martin Scorsese's first kid's movie falls short of its expectations.
After seeing the trailers, my family and I had very high expectations
for this movie, and we eagerly went out and saw it in the theaters. We
walked out extremely disappointed.
First of all, the trailers were completely misleading. My first impression was that the movie was about a boy trying to uncover a great mystery left behind in the wake of his father's death. I thought the movie was going to open up into an enchanting adventure, complete with suspense, action, and magic. I didn't get any of those things. This movie starts out will a long build-up, with the audience waiting for this magical adventure to get underway, only to keep them waiting for another hour or so, where nothing interesting or magical happens.
The pacing in the movie is terrible. The movie opens with some stunning visuals, the camera panning over the Paris cityscape and eventually showing us around the train station where the protagonist, Hugo, lives. We get the story of his father's death, and are left with a sense of wonder. We want to know what the automaton is for, why Ben Kingsely's character is so bitter, and what this adventure Hugo promises his little gal-friend is and when it's going to happen. The movie starts and stops, then drags for a bit, then starts, and drags for a long time before grinding to an unsatisfying halt. The adventure doesn't happen. All that waiting around... for nothing.
I don't really know what to say about the acting in this movie. Most of the actors had good moments and bad moments. The dialog was lacking. The characters spent more time staring at each other than actually talking. Some of the facial expressions and emotional reactions were a little on the melodramatic side. (POSSIBLE SPOILERS)Ben Kingsley gets pissy because the two kids find out that he used to make movies? Hugo throws a fit because the automaton didn't work as he expected to? I don't think these were appropriate responses to their situations.
The one good thing I have to say about this movie is that the visuals were absolutely gorgeous. From the cold blue lighting in the snowy outdoor scenes, to the orange-y warmth of the train station, to the powerful metallic essence of the gears and clockwork in the tower, this movie has some of the best 3D effects that I've seen since that awful, shallow Avatar. The problem is, the magical visuals cannot make up for the drab and very UN-magical story.
Overall, the magical, engaging adventure the trailers promised does not exist. The movie's pace is very slow. Some of the acting is questionable. The visuals were good, but they didn't save the movie. Do not go to this movie expecting something with substance. And definitely do not bring your kids to this movie; they will be bored to tears.
Saw it today in a sneak preview today at the Director's Guild in LA. James Cameron who was there professed it's a masterpiece and the best 3D to date. And he's right on both fronts. The film is exquisitely crafted. The cinematography and set design is likely going to take home a couple gold guys. It's a film lover's dream movie. As with many of Scorsese's films, it's an inspired film history lesson along side of being a dreamlike children's fable. A really unique combination that will work for the film enthusiasts and discerning family's with kids. Maybe a bit long for broad audiences with very little kids, but the images are so enchanting, it should win over most everybody. Sasha Baron Cohen is a brilliant and hilarious standout as the twitchy constable. It should be very well received just on the 3D alone.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A movie about the silent film industry with an automaton set in a train station? Sounds good doesn't it. This was a movie with potential, but it fell short so much so that I'm not going to waste my time giving it a detailed, complete critique. So here's the bullet points: The transitions were horrendous. The scenes jumped so much that half the time i didn't know where the characters were or where they were going. The boy who played Hugo was terrible. He was hired for his blue-sad eye stare. That was it, no range of emotion past the stare. The Station Inspector was a strange character. When you make an injured war veteran the comic relief (not in a heartwarming way, but a feels awkward to laugh at his injury sort of way) there's something wrong. Pitiable and sad to hear others in the theater laugh at him. The dialog was vapid and moronic. "Everything has a purpose in life... even machines". Well ya, machines have a purpose otherwise we wouldn't bother having them!! I could bury myself with all the plot holes in this movie. Nuf said. Overall no heart to the story. I can't waste anymore time reviewing this disappointing movie. Bottom line: Don't bother.
Martin Scorcese's new film, Hugo is one of the best cinematic
experience, I've had in years. The 3D is just simply astounding and the
best I have ever seen in a movie. The visual effects, cinematography,
art direction, just technically superb. Finally a smart, awe-aspiring
family film, which are really rare nowadays. A definite surprise coming
from legendary director, Martin Scorcese, who's known for movies with a
lot of swears, violence, drugs and other adult-themed subjects.
The acting was really good and completely convincing. Asa Butterfield delivers a very committed performance as Hugo Cabret, and he shows a lot of promise in his future career. Chloë Grace Moretz, also gives a fine and respectable performance. Sacha Baron Cohen is surprisingly very effective as Station Inspector. Ben Kingsley gives the best performance in the whole movie, he is just superb and deserves some recognition. Overall, the whole cast was top notch.
Eyes may be the window to the soul, but movies are the projection of our dreams, according to "Hugo" that is. Martin Scorsese's first attempt at a children's film might be over most of their adolescent heads, but this founding member of the "Movie Brats" might've just concocted a delectable cinematic treat that speaks to most film lovers' surrealist commitment to the big screen. In retrospect, it works, and this enchanting flick is one of the best of the year.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was frankly stunned at how BAD this movie is. The 3D is very well
done, but like all the clockwork and machines the movie revels in,
"Hugo" is technically brilliant, moves like an elegant automaton, and
has NO heart or soul. It is dead and hollow within.
The "plot" is confusing, the script seems to be more dictated over a cell phone than written, the lead character looks like an animated corpse, and it is DULL, DULL, DULL, DULL, DULL. My boyfriend actually fell asleep. It is terrible that a technique such as 3D seems to have totally eliminated the need for a decent plot, script, characters, motivation and some essence of believability. Scorsese also has to re-learn the use of editing as the movie is too long by at least a half hour, and the pace limps slower than the villainous station cop's leg.
The acting was competent except for Sacha Baron Cohen who is nearly unwatchable as the aforementioned gendarme - if he would only get a wooden leg it would match the rest of his performance.
The "plot" manipulates emotions rather than inspires them, and is unbelievably pedantic. It's like watching Scorsese lecture a Film 101 class. ***SPOILER?*** I could not believe the scene in the library where the children actually PULL OUT A BOOK and start lecturing the audience about the history of movies up to that point. Stunningly awful.
The great irony is that George Melies made FAR FAR FAR greater movies, even with his limited technology than this putrid piece of dreck. "Hugo" is a shameful waste of $170 million dollars. The Melies clips are the ONLY part of this debacle that have life, art, wit, color, and are actually entertaining.
PULEEEZZZZZ....Marty....put down the camera for GOOD, and stay in the lecture hall. You have lost the ability to make captivating, interesting movies that speak to normal, living people. If you want to make a movie about Melies, or educate the audience....make a documentary.
Without spoiling, consider a motion picture whose last 30 minutes are
equal to the last 4 minutes of Cinema Paradiso. To be in a theater with
people tearing up over images of vintage and historic cinema, so
beautifully integrated into a dazzling and heartfelt story is something
special indeed. Absolutely knock-out use of 3D, fantastic performances
by everyone involved, glorious set design, music, costumes and state
-of-the-art CGI that propel a story rather than being superficial,
stand alone tricks makes HUGO a film for moviegoers world wide.
Absolutely do not miss this film in a theater. The images are
transporting and need to be experienced on the big screen.
Thanks Marty, for bringing to us all such a gift. This is truly one for the ages
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There's no denying that 3D has almost never looked this sharp, but
there are plenty of films out there where it doesn't call this much
attention to itself; it enhances the cosmetic aspect of the film; it
hardly does much for the weak adaptation of the novel. In "Hugo", as it
is the case in many of the of Scorcese's films, technological
improvements throw his film out of balance, and this is the beginning
of the many flaws in this project.
The art direction and costumes are breathtaking, immersing the audience in the right period, though it has barely any of the charm and magic that made another film set Paris this year so successful. In that other film, all the scenes in the various periods are evocative and involving. Here the experience is as cold as a disorganized display in the best museum. It doesn't have much impact on its audience. Some of the scenery could be an exact imitation of the original inspiration. There were a couple of times when the visuals blend perfectly with a few of the clips that are integrated in the film.
The problem is the almost absolute lack of warmth in the various relationships between many of the main characters and the way they are directed in this movie. The young man at the heart of the film feels at time as another piece of furniture in the set. When I walked into the theater, many of the people weren't sure if we were watching an animated film or a live action production because they said the actors looked funny. The feel feels so cold in its adaptation of a very interesting literary piece, a book so charming with its integration of words and its simple black and white adaptation. To be fair it is hard to look away because it is so gorgeous, but at the same time, the disappointment hits hard because this is a film that should relies heavily in the sense of wonder usually associated with children's films and/or young performers. Earlier this year "Super 8" and "Real Steel" benefited immensely from the outstanding work and charisma of their young performers. The Elle Fanning scene in "Super 8" puts everything in this film to shame. Where both of those films project warmth, innocence,and a great variety of emotions, "Hugo" never becomes multidimensional, a big irony, considering its best quality is the nearly perfect 3-D visuals. To make things worse, two other projects involving literacy and story telling, made by Cuaron ("A Little Princess") and Petersen ("The Never Ending Story") have shown that its is possible to blend reality and magic, with the help of the right approach and the appropriate performances.
In addition to the lack of emotional magic on the screen, the pacing in "Hugo" is so slow it borders on catatonic, dragging for most of its two hours. We finally arrive to the last third of the film, a place where the film finally comes alive; suddenly, Scorcese pours his heart in the film, using original film clips and beautiful recreations of the original sources from various classic films of early French cinema. These are breathtaking, as they play, one after another, showing us the sense of wonder original audiences must have experienced. Finally, one is almost overpowered as Toto was in several scenes of "Cinema Paradiso" as the director viewed the treasured collage in the final scene of that movie, or as the young protagonist of "A Little Princess" told her magic stories set in exotic India, infused with her own imagination and simple stop motion work. Petersen went even further with the seamless blend of the young man, as he becomes a part of the literary experience, and one realized how powerful the magic in the written word can be. Very little of that exists in "Hugo", a shiny package, with a rock for a heart.
Scorcese has done much for the preservation of cinema, and the original source of this film lent itself to a cinematic production to support his cause, but just like Spielberg chooses other people to direct some of his projects, much more could have been achieved by handing this property to a more suited director, a person who understands innocence, wonder, how important it is to get inside the hearts of people, opposed to working with projects where the main characters are notorious for not having one. Rarely Scorcese has shown in his movies any sort of affection for or between his characters, "Alice doesn't live here anymore" is a rare exception, and children in it are a bit on the precocious side. Come to think about it, Law showed much more emotion in "A.I." as he interacted with the marvelous Osment, and both of them were playing automatons.
A big disappointment.
I just returned home after seeing Hugo on opening day and if I can
describe this film in one word, it would be beautiful. This film has
inspired me in ways that I can't even begin to explain. It's been a
while since I've seen a film that spoke to me as personally as this
film did. I'm a fan of Martin Scorsese and he's crafted a beautiful ode
to not only cinema but also imagination and in a way, it celebrates all
the things that help us escape. The world is a scary place and everyone
goes through pain and suffering but if you just try and learn to dream,
find your voice and not be afraid then you would be surprised what
I love how this film tells the amazing story of pioneer filmmaker Georges Melies who many of today's directors such as Steven Spielberg and James Cameron owe everything to. I love his films and I own a box set of his work, it's wonderful to see more people be introduced to him and the magic he created that continues to capture the imagination of many.
So if you love the cinema and magic then I highly recommend this masterpiece. Hugo is really something special I think.
"If you've ever wondered where your dreams come from, just look around.
This is where they're made."
Hugo Cabret's story was told so well that it felt like you were right there with him on his stunning adventure.
For those unfamiliar, this is the story about a young boy named Hugo. He lives inside the walls of a train station in Paris in the 1930's. His father dies, leaving behind a mysterious automaton that, when fixed, can write. Hugo makes it his mission to fix it, believing that it will reveal a message from his father. With the help of an eccentric girl named Isabelle, he tries to uncover a magical mystery about the old man at the toy booth (Isabelle's godfather) and enchanting early films.
I had been looking forward to this film for a very long time, and I was not disappointed at all. I was a bit unsure about the 3D at first, but it turned out to be superb. Every single object became part of the story, and the audience became immersed in this beautiful world created by Martin Scorsese and Brian Selznick. While every member of the cast was brilliant, there are two in particular I'd like to point out.
First, Asa Butterfield as Hugo. He carried the film with perfection and gave a truly incredible performance. His acting was very natural--you could hardly tell he was acting! He did an amazing job of bringing life to a complex, lost, sad character. Asa is one of the most talented young actors I've ever seen; a very likely Oscar nomination in his future.
Last (but certainly not least) is Chloe Grace Moretz. She is another young performer that never fails to amaze me. Chloe nailed the British accent and brilliantly portrayed a bright, energetic Isabelle.
This movie has it all: beautiful visuals, super-talented cast, magic, love, heart, feeling, emotion. Best Picture Nomination for sure, and quite possibly others. Overall, this movie is a must-see. It was the most enjoyable theater experience that I've ever had. The entire theater broke into applause once it ended. This film has something for all ages, and it's really something special.
Especially if you love adventure, mystery, wonder, and have a bright imagination, you will fall in love with this film just like I did.
"Come and dream with me."
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