- Reviews Written:
Posted on 4/06/13 11:53 AM
After a very high recommendation from one of my RT friends and months of procrastinating, I finally saw Hugo. And I must say that this is one of the most (if not the very most) well made movie I have ever seen. From a purely movie-making standpoint, this is flawless. The direction, the acting, the production and set design, and the music are all perfect. The movie is visually spectacular. Another thing going in this movies favor is that it is undeniably magical. There is just this certain aura this movie has...pure magic. It's quite the movie watching experience!
Hugo Cabret is an orphaned boy living in the clock tower of a train station. His loving father died, leaving Hugo a broken automaton. Hugo and his father had been fixing it up, but they could never get it running without a missing key. Flash forward after Hugo's father's death and Hugo is living alone in the train station. He winds the clocks, steals for food, and continues to search for the missing key. He is caught in the act of stealing by trinket store owner Georges Méliès. Hugo runs into Méliès goddaughter Isabelle and notices that she has his missing key! When Hugo and Isabelle wind up the automaton, the picture that it produces starts an adventure in motion that will reveal the mysterious and wonderful past of Papa Méliès.
In the first paragraph I mentioned the movie's strengths, but the movie does have some issues. First and foremost, I have no idea what age demographic this movie was made for. Any child under the age of 10 will probably be bored out of his mind. Most pre-teens and teenagers couldn't care less about Georges Méliès and the origins of motion pictures. So who's left? Mature teens and younger children who can appreciate the wonders of the movie, and adults (probably fans of Scorcese). Maybe this is why the movie did less than stellar at the box office. Another thing I didn't like about the movie was that it seemed to have a few pointless scenes (for instance, Hugo's dream scene and Christopher Lee's bookstore owner scenes). One other issue I have with the movie, and I know this is just me, but it left me vaguely depressed. There's just something about it that made the happy ending sort of sad for me.
One of the movie's great strengths is the cast, starting with the two younger stars of the movie. Asa Butterfield stars as Hugo. There wasn't a moment in this movie that I was annoyed with his character. Kids in movies usually annoy me, mostly because they always act like egotistical jerks. Not Butterfield though. He is able to give a legitimately good performance against much bigger stars. Chloe Moretz also stars as Isabelle. I might be slightly biased because she is I guess what you'd call my "celebrity crush". But I still think her performance is outstanding. The way Isabelle uses huge words that are sometimes inappropriate for the situation, is one of the funnier things in the movie.
Ben Kingsley probably gives the best performance of the movie as Georges Méliès. It's mixing fact and fiction when Kingsley character is revealed, which is what makes it special. It was really interesting to see the scenes of Georges making his movies. Rounding out the cast we have Sasha Baron Cohen as the Inspector. At first I thought his only purpose was for slapstick comedy, but later in the film his is actually given character. This is the second supporting role in a drama that I've seen Cohen in recently, and he is really great in both. I hope more good roles are ahead for him. Also of note is Jude Law in all of about two scenes. He plays Hugo's devoted and loving father very well. It only takes a few minutes on screen to know that he really loves his son, making his death carry some weight.
Overall, I thought this movie was a wonderful and magical experience. I do think it is slightly overhyped though. It has a few issues, but I still really enjoyed it. This movie proves that the magic of film is just as alive as it was back when Méliès was making his pictures!
"I'd imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured, if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn't be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason." 8/10