Hugo is a kids movie that toasts early film, while pulling off a magical trick of embracing new media. This is one of the few tolerable uses of 3D technology.
Based on the 2007 illustrated kids novel “The Invention Of Hugo Cabret,” Martin Scorsese directs the life story of filmmaker Georges Méliès, known as the inventor of special effects. Yes, this is a 3D movie about special effects. I’m drowning in the irony.
Set in 1930’s Paris, Hugo is a young mechanically inclined boy who lives in the storybook walls of a train station, setting its clocks, while he searches for clues about his deceased father. While keeping one step ahead of the Station Inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen
,) he believes those clues, once put together will help him understand his purpose. His search though, ends up crossing paths with the always brilliant Ben Kingsley
, who plays Méliès. Both are searching for something.
The first half includes some impressive CGI work, seamlessly melded with live action, as Hugo races to find answers. The second half of the film is a treat for movie lovers focusing on preserving and showing Méliès’ work. Scorsese has long been a champion of preserving old film, so this movie serves a double purpose for him. Well done sir.
Hugo offers up fantastic nuggets of film storytelling. In a scene with Isabelle (Chloe Grace Morentz
) he explains how his life’s knowledge has told him that machines don’t come with extra parts. Hugo says he looks at the world like a machine, so if he’s in the world, he knows that he has purpose. He’s not an extra part. Who doesn’t want to feel like they fit in?
Although masked in a kids movie format, Hugo is a giant homage to cinema. Even if you didn’t take an introduction to film class, you’re still able to walk away with that feeling that cinephiles, like myself, hold dear.