The film follows Hugo Cabret, an orphaned boy who lives within the walls of a train station in Paris. Hugo possesses an automaton that his father found in a museum while he worked there. However, this automaton is full of secrets. Hugo befriends Isabella and the two set out to unravel its secrets and it will impact both of their lives.
The plot to Hugo is pretty simple and it's executed very well. Martin Scorcese knows how to draw you into the story. The film starts with a cold opening. The tile isn't revealed until fifteen minutes in. There is beautiful cinematography and camera work. I love how the camera swept through the train station. The dialogue doesn't kick until a few minutes. We are also introduced to the visual look of the film and I loved it. It was like something out of a dream. For a family film, it's rather long. But the film paces well. It takes it's time, the characters are well developed, and the story keeps you interested. Scorcese's direction is higly impressive. I love his camera work in the film and the cinematography in this film is beautiful. He sure knows how to direct a film. He's also very good with actors. If you can't act, then I guess you can't be in a Scorcese flick. John Logan's screenplay is well written. There is a lot of good dialogue in this film. It's stays true to Brian Selznick's novel but there are some changes. They are some side characters that weren't featured in the novel and they make bigger characters out of the Station Inspector and the librarian. Aside from that, the film was true to the source material.
Hugo has a lot of good performances. There is not one weak actor in the film. The title role is played by Asa Butterfield and he is one fine actor. For a young actor, he's very good. He totally got into his character and I could tell he was having a good time playing Hugo. I enjoy watching Chloe Moretz and I think she will have a long career. She is an impressive teen actress. And a cute one. Her performance as Isabella was very good but I did find her French accent to be a little cheesy. Other than that, the two young actors put on fine performances. I loved seeing them interact with the world around them. The world built in this film is a joy to watch. I hope the two go on to make more good movies. Ben Kingsley is great in his supporting role as Papa Georges. Kingsley always impresses and he did so in this film. I like how his character evolved over the film. I enjoyed Helen McCrory as Mama Jeanne and Jude Law did well in his small role. Sacha Baron Cohen is my favorite of the supporting cast. He plays the Station Inspector and he is very enjoyable and fun to watch. He's also very funny. Christopher Lee is awesome, right? He plays The Librarian. Lee has an awesome voice and is a great actor and he shines in his minor role. I liked the side characters they added like the lady who sells flowers, who's also the Station Inspector's love interest, the lady in the café as well as her love interest. I don't think they were in the book but they were nice touches.
Hugo pays tribute to silent films and that is one of the great things about this film. The history of cinema plays a big part in the film and you learn a lot about it. You also get to see how people perceived cinema back then. Also, the score was great. Howard Shore's score perfectly fit the film's atmosphere. There is also a bit of French music in there that is really good.
Hugo is a wonderful family film. The visual style is really cool, the writing and acting are impressive, and the story is great. This is a highly memorable film and I've watched it twice by now. I wish I could've seen it in 3D but it looks great on Blu-ray. Martin Scorcese has crafted a great family film that will entertain children, adults, and film buffs. It's also a great love letter to cinema. It made me thankful for the movies. What would the world be without them? If you love innocent family films, check out Hugo. You'll be glad you did. We need more movies like this.
"Come and dream with me."
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Family.
Question: What gives you purpose and makes you feel like you fit into the world? Well, we all have something, at least we should. Think about it.
This is the message at the heart of Hugo and I think a pretty darn good one. It shouldn't matter if you are 12 or 72 years-old, we all need to feel like we belong, someplace where we know we serve a purpose or what's the meaning of it all, really? Yes, it's a pretty deep, philosophical thought for a movie that I thought was geared to kids primarily. However, my kids enjoyed the movie and I hope somewhere deep inside they understood what the movie was trying to convey.
The story begins with a boy, an orphan, who lives in a train station in Paris in the 1930's. You find out why he is there with a few flashbacks but really the story revolves around another story line which is revealed much later in the film. The boy's name is Hugo and his adventure is to find his purpose or to make sure his purpose is real, but how he goes about that will remain a mystery in this review.
There was a great surprise, well for me at least, as Hugo's story unfolded. I really want to say more but, as usual, don't want to spoil it for you. However, on the whole I found the storytelling to be a bit on the dull side. Not sure what happened with it but Hugo ran slow. Even with the part of the story line I really liked, it didn't suck me in as I think it could have.
The movie was in 3D and the beginning was absolutely stunning with its effects. When the adventure part of this story was front and center the 3D was awesome. However, the majority of the movie was more of a drama and the 3D lost its luster; and soon I found it annoying to have to wear the glasses. I am not a huge fan of 3D movies, by the way, so for you fans out there I am positive you will enjoy that part of the movie.
On a bright note: The boy who played Hugo was delightful, and he has the bluest eyes I have ever seen on a human being. I almost think they may have been digitally enhanced. Anyway, he did a great job on the whole, even though there were parts where the film-makers showed children behaving more like adults than children, and that happened here. I still think he did a good job as the lead character of a Scorsese film.
Most children should enjoy this film and I recommend you take them to see Hugo. For adults, sadly, this was not one of Scorsese greatest films.
My favorite part: The discovery of the message in the film. There is this great scene on a Paris bridge with Notre Dame in the background between the 2 children. A great line was spoken by Hugo. A great line!
My least favorite: Sacha Baron Cohen, I am afraid to say. His character was too much of a caricature for me.
Length: 127 minutes
Review: 6 out of 10
Set in 1920s Paris, Hugo tells the story of an orphan named Hugo Cabret who lives in a train station and makes sure all the clocks are running properly. He goes on a quest to uncover what he thinks is a special message from his late father, but instead finds himself helping an old man come to terms with his past, with the man happening to be film legend Georges Melies.
Since the film is ultimately a love letter to classic cinema, it makes this project not seem so odd or alien for Scorsese. Yeah, it shows him branching out, but at the same time still staying somewhat in his comfort zone, at least as far as some of the material is concerned. It's also a love letter to the handcrafted, and the days when "movie magic" was just that.
I loved this film. I didn't happen to see it in 3D, but I could just tell that it was probably used as it should be, and used very well at that. Scorsese isn't the type of guy to tinker with something just for the heck of it. If he does something, it's usually not for some sort of stupid ploy or gimmick.
This was all very charming, fun, and innocent, and, even though there is some substance, it did leave me feeling perhas somewhat slighted, and just a tad underwhelmed. Also, Sacha Baron Cohen really played up the comical side of his character. Not that that's completely a bad thing, but I was hoping that for once he would just play a character completely straight, and really go full on menacing and/or serious. That said, he still did a decent job, even if it was nothing new for him.
Those are really my only complaints here, and they're not even really big ones. This is a magical and wonderful film. It looks great, the cast (aside from Cohen) are all great, and it's nice seeing Marty change it up (and do it well).
If you love heartwarming stories, classic cinema (as in early 20th Century), and Martin Scorsese, then this should be a must see for you.