Hugo

Hugo

94%

Critic Review - Wall Street Journal

Thematic potency and cinematic virtuosity -- the production was designed by Dante Ferretti and photographed by Robert Richardson -- can't conceal a deadly inertness at the film's core.

November 28, 2011 Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal | Comments (141)
Wall Street Journal
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Comments

Bye bye

Steven Bailey

The people who didn't like this film didn't like it because it wasn't dark or edgy enough for them. End of story.

Feb 25 - 02:41 PM

Nathan Olson

Nathan Olson

Really? Even after reading a review from a respected PROFESSIONAL critic as well as the countless other people who have listed legitimate areas that didn't hit par it just HAS to be a case of "they only like dark films..." At least we can support with evidence from the film and from filmography standards of cinematic plot and structure our views. Just because some people found SOME (not all) parts to be lacking and opposite your view than "oh, they know nothing. They only like dark films." Why don't you try INTELLIGENT debate.

Feb 26 - 01:37 AM

Nathan Olson

Nathan Olson

Excellent review! I've been searching high and low for someone who left with similar feelings. I agree, visually encapsulating. But acting was bland. Plot and story were low grade. The only action was the consistently constant chase scenes. After three of those, I really was bored. But every time I argue these points the general public assumes I have no knowledge or love of historic cinema. I loved those parts. But it just wasn't intertwined with the rest of the story well.

Feb 26 - 01:27 AM

Jeffery Arnold

Jeffery Arnold

While my father and step mother absolutely loved the film, they both fell asleep while watching it on two separate occasions and need to watch it three times to finish the whole thing. I on the other hand was able to finish it in one go through, and while I too have watched it three times with them, I do not share their view of its incredibility.

The pacing is much too slow. The acting is well done with the exception of a few scenes. But the real annoyance is the lack of cohesion. This film starts as a coming of age story about a boy seeking to find his place and a family, but half way through the films entire focus switches to be about the great George Melies and the mysteries surrounding him. But there was truly never any mystery, never any intrigue... All the twists and turns of this film came at face value. They came in such a way that they weren't twists at all, but instead just a long dull straight trip from beginning to end.

I am not some Scorsese hater either. I've enjoyed most of Scorsese' work including (but not limited to): Shutter Island, The Departed, Gangs of New York, Casino, and Taxi Driver. The only reason this film has such a high rating is because it tells a tale involving the creator of cinematography, it's a movie paying homage to many of the things that make movies today so great. But ruins it by trying to hide the fact that it is... It's essentially the true story of the life of George Melies, masked by pretending to be the fictional story of a young tragic boy that really has no purpose for the film... Hugo could've been taken completely out of the film and it would still have essentially told the same tale, the tale of George disappearance from the public to reemergence to acceptance as being the first cinimagician in the world.

Feb 28 - 10:07 PM

Alec Mapes-Frances

Alec Mapes-Frances

agreeeed. story is poorly structured and writing/acting is mostly wooden. no clue why critics are overlooking this.

Feb 29 - 02:58 PM

Michael Haight

Michael Haight

BORING!!! You can hide behind the "artistic" argument all you want. The story was wooden, choppy and too distant to pull the viewer in. Please tell me that Hollywood hasn't become this separated from the people who fund their existence.

Mar 2 - 07:53 PM

Jeff Graham

Jeff Graham

Its funny, everyone praises Scorsese's direction so much, but I thought he made what could've been a daring and quirky fantasy into a totally lifeless bio-doc. I love Marty just as much as the next guy, but I would've love to see Tim Burton with this one. His quirkiness could've done a lot for the film - quirkness for which Méliès was renowned. Maybe then we could've a least some life in the characters, or a reason to care about them. Hugo's character was totally bland.

Mar 2 - 08:42 PM

Jeff Graham

Jeff Graham

*Melies - sorry RT freaks out about accent marks.

Mar 2 - 08:42 PM

Cory Hails

Cory Hails

Agree. Most Academy Award nominee movies just suck. This one is no exception. Boring as hell!

Mar 3 - 09:05 AM

Anirudh Merugu

Anirudh Merugu

Asshole, can you make a better than this asshole

Mar 4 - 05:41 AM

Steven Glenn

Steven Glenn

What does that mean - needs Viagra? Come on. Methinks you doth think too much. Must not have seen the same film I did

Mar 4 - 06:57 AM

The Bad Guy

Paul Something

I thought the film was a magical experience. People are entitled to feel differently, but the quantity of negative feedback on here does make me sad.

As someone who loves movies I found the whole thing to be a delightful tribute to the dawn of cinema. The juxtaposition of the 3D (which is the best I've ever seen) and the start of special effects in film made it a wonderfully unique viewing experience. While it's also sentimental I never found it cloying or manipulative, as it's Melies back story moved me with ease. I saw over 120 from 2011 and Hugo managed to crack my top ten list at #6.

I saw Hugo in a beautiful old theater with a crowd of all ages. When the film ended the audience began to applaud loudly and I was clapping with them.

Mar 5 - 10:23 PM

Midnight H.

Midnight Hum

Mr. Morgenstern I think that your review is spot on. The movie did not do the book (which was gorgeous) justice.
As someone who read the book years before the movie was even in pre-production, I must say that I was tremendously disappointed in this film, especially coming from someone as great as Scorsese. The problem for me wasn't the directing (which I didn't think was terrible, though certainly not Oscar-worthy) it was more the pacing, dialogue, and acting. I may have been able to like this movie if the main actor was more expressive and didn't feel like a kid off of a cereal commercial.
What really makes me angry is that a movie of this caliber was nominated for Oscars when a movie like Win Win (Which I believe totally deserved to be recognized in multiple categories) didn't even get ONE nod. I would have to say that this film was nominated solely because of WHO directed it and not HOW good it really was. Which is a cryin' shame.
And for all of those who have said things along the lines of, "Well it has a 93% consensus" or "All the critics like it so I must be right too", I say "Think for yourself and don't be a follower." Reviews are subjective (as is this one) and I would like to remind you that the movie 'Vertigo' was not extremely well received when it was released, but is now considered a classic. The words of critics mean NOTHING unless what they say still holds true in 40 years. And Hugo (for all the screen time and press coverage) will not be remembered for half of that.

Mar 6 - 08:27 AM

Roy Smith

Roy Smith

I think critics fall in love with directors and it colors their reviews. Slap Spielberg's name on anything and expect +25% bonus, M Night could) somehow release a masterpiece and he'd never break 50%.

An unfunny Cohen and the local gendarme, the two couples, and much more should had never survived the editing room. Good luck getting your eight-year old to sit through this.

He's not going to care about a "love letter to movies" and all the critics tripe. This is a innovative movie - a kids movie far too dull for a children to sit through.

This is the longest 2 hour movie that has ever been made.

Mar 6 - 09:09 PM

Cory Pratt

Cory Pratt

Yeah I found myself looking at my watch a couple of times during this film (which is ironic, because it's filled with clocks). I do believe that this review is pretty accurate, and I really think the screenwriter is the culprit here. There were just so many moments that felt like filler. The core story of the film is quite limited (really the entire film hinged on the fact that Melies went bankrupt and downtrodden after the war) and it never seems like there's anything at stake. When we finally learn the truth behind George's secrecy, and Hugo goes back for the automaton, we know exactly what's about to happen...yet another chase scene (by that time there's already been three) with the the inspector, followed by the most saccharin sweet ending ever. I mean, the villain even finds true love and happiness! It's so vanilla it's painful. The production design is a masterclass though, and it deserved every technical award that it earned. I think Scorsese worked with what he had in this script, and in the end made a children's movie that's just a little too gentle.

Mar 6 - 10:14 PM

Anthony Scherer

Anthony Scherer

I think alot of people don't like the subtlety of the movie. It's not blisteringly fast paced. Go watch something with explosions if you want that.

Mar 8 - 09:57 PM

Charlie B.

Charlie Boy

You need to throw away the bullshit generator.

Mar 12 - 12:25 PM

Rafiul Islam

Rafiul Islam

With all the hoopla about Hugo, my wife wanted to see it so we sat down and gave it a shot. It was so terrible that I was compelled to sign up to RT and write this. I laugh and laugh reading these reviews from spineless pathetic pretentious goobers that claim they enjoyed this movie. One idiot said, ??Scorsese is such an artist that we cannot be capable of bad direction?? ?? I have a knee jerk reaction to tell that guy to drink a jug of Drano. This other guy said, ??I would love to have my 7 and 8 year old watch this movie?? ?? really you dipshit???! I??m sure half the pointless drawn out nonsense in this movie will really knock their socks off! Listen sheep ?? just because some douchebag in a turtleneck says something is brilliant does not make it so, it just proves that he??s a douchebag.

Mar 12 - 07:47 PM

Angel  B.

Angel Belisario

If you guys don't like this movie, you call yourselvs "movie lovers"? Please.

Mar 29 - 09:14 PM

Breaker Dioshi

Breaker Dioshi

The movie was alright. Easily my least favorite Scorcese film, the whole thing reminded me of Amelie, well directed and intricately connected, but whereas Amelie has a trite and pretencious beginning, this movie sticks it at the end. You don't eat the vegetables after desert.

Maybe I'm one of the so called "idiots" because I don't "love" this film but I prefer movies to have some kind of building of action, a climax, then end the damn thing. I'm not a big fan of Apocalypse Now for the same reason.

As to the Aholes who say "watch a movie with explosions" don't be a dikk. Why don't you watch Million Dollar Hotel I'm sure theres all kinds of acting and subtlety in it.

Apr 2 - 05:24 PM

Steffi Fung

Steffi Fung

Are you retarded?

May 5 - 06:26 AM

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