Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Hugo – 126min – PG

I have not been a fan of 3D movies. They use the 3D technology as a gimmick and not as a part of the composition of the scenes. Hugo is a movie that does the opposite and makes it a component of each scene. This is a great example of how to use 3D as a device to transport the viewer to another place and time. This movie has a mystical setting that lends itself to the magic of filmmaking.

It really took me to places I was not expecting. This story is a homage to the visions of Georges Méliès who was the father of the art of storytelling in film. The Parisian train station setting and the era it took place gives it a feel more like big Broadway stage production. This is a green light film. It is purely and simply magical.

Hugo (Asa Butterfield) is a street orphan who was living with his uncle at a train station in Paris. His Uncle (Ray Winstone) is a drunkard who taught Hugo to do all the work so he could go out and drink. The community of shop keepers at the station all relay on the huge number of clocks around the station.

Hugo has a way with gadgets and is drawn to a toy shop that sells little wind clockwork toys. The shop owner (Ben Kingsley) catches him stealing some parts and threatens to turn Hugo into the authorities unless he works off his debt.

The parts he stole were going to a project of rebuilding a mechanical boy that his father (Jude Law) was working on. The shop keeper has a daughter, Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz) who befriends Hugo and together they go on an adventure that is going to affect everyone at the train station.

This is a phrase I never thought I would be saying to my young son, “Hey son, let’s go see a Scorsese film.” When you think kid movie Martin Scorsese is not the name that jumps to the top of the list. But as a master filmmaker there seems to be no genre that he does not excel at.

When I think Scorsese, I think of people getting shot in the face, gangsters, psycos and eccentric airplane designers. With this film I am now completely convinced that this filmmaker can tell any story on film and is not limited to specific themes.

I really liked the parallels with the subject of the movie and how the movie was shot. It focuses on Georges Méliès who said hey this movie thing is great, it would be better if you cut it this way... and proceed to make narrative stories through film. Mr. Scorsese said hey this 3D stuff kind of cool, it would be better if you did it this way…. Both of these visionaries make movies something into something new. There are some really great shots in the film where the scenes envelop you in the setting.

Warning, Spoilers!!! Magicians only click here to see them!!!

The snow and the other scenes that make the environment 3D were the best, I also liked the opening where you are flying through Paris are simply magical. Looking through the android and watching it move and work all at once is so hypnotizing that I could watch those over and over again.

Sacha Baron Cohen the station inspector was not terrible; he was not his usual unsavory character. If he keeps doing roles like this he might one day be considered an actor. To say I have not liked his previous performances is an understatement. But he gives me reason to think that he might actually have some talent. We will have to see what he does next. I am not holding my breath.

Chloë Grace Moretz plays a girl who has only lived through books. She is getting a wide variety of roles under her belt. She has played a pint sized assassin, a vampire an now this. She has so much potential that I see great things from her. I hope she does not fall into that child star syndrome. She could be one of the greats.

What flimmaker has surprised you in either a good or bad way? Who was it and what film made you think wow?!? I did not thing they could do one like that.

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