Well, I’m getting close to seeing most of the Oscar nominated films. At this point I’ll probably only miss out on the shorts before sunday.
Back when I first heard Scorsese was making a “kids” movie in 3D I almost pissed myself. I was upset at first, because of the 3D thing, but I’ll address that some day in its own post. I also was having a hard time imagining Marty making a family movie. I mean this is the man I associate with some incredibly violent and graphic films. Great films, but hardly movies I’d share with my imaginary kid (let’s call him/her Superfly). When the movie finally came out I missed it. Since I don’t live in a decent sized city, the movie selection is slim and while there are times when the theater will play a movie in both 2D and 3D, Hugo was not one of those instances, and I’ve pretty much vowed to avoid 3D movies. I finally watched it though and I’m upset I waited this long.
Hugo is a hard film to describe, although I think years of being told not to summarize things in school just makes it hard for me to do that for reviews. Set in 1930s Paris, the movie revolves around a boy named Hugo (big surprise right?). He’s an orphan living in a train station and basically the movie revolves around his interactions at the station, more or less. There are a lot of “minor” characters that don’t necessarily play a big role. You see them early on and throughout the film, but they never really stand out. They are important. They may not directly affect what’s going on, but without them the movie would loose a lot of heart, so pay attention to them. Anyway, Hugo use to work with his father in trying to fix an automaton (that thing from the trailers) and the film focuses on the mystery that not only surrounds that machine, but lives its affected. And you learn a bit about film history.
The films complicated. It’s all about the lovely little details that make you feel warm and fuzzy, which Scorsese handles wonderfully. I mean if you felt dirty after watching Goodfellas, pop Hugo on too clean yourself off. It’s very much a warm fluffy movie and not in a bad way.
The cinematography is great. I mean, right off the bat I feel in love with the movie because of how gorgeous some of those are shots are. I mean the coloring in this movie is amazing. The score is also great as well. The visuals and audio go hand in hand in creating a beautiful film, regardless of the actors and the story.
The cast is amazing, though I guess I’m not surprised. Scorsese can pretty attract a good cast. Ben Kingsley, Ray Winstone, Jude Law, Emily Mortimer, Christopher Lee, Helen McCrory, Richard Griffiths (Uncle Monty!), and Frances de la Tour are all great. I mean they’re talented folks to begin with and they don’t just shrug off their smaller parts. Some of these guys get very little screen time, but they are still great. I also thought Sacha Baron Cohen was quite good. I’d much rather see him doing this than Borat or Bruno. I think both Asa Butterfield and Chloe Moretz were great. I was a bit hesitant about Butterfield as Hugo at first. His character takes some time I think. Moretz was outstanding. Both of the kids did such a great job of coming off as very mature. You sit and watch the two go back and forth and then it dawns on you that they’re both still kids.
I wouldn’t call Hugo a kids film though. I feel like a lot of the film wouldn’t click for most kids. Family film, yes, but the kids watching probably should be older. Not for any graphic reasons though. And for anyone who keeps hearing how much this is a love letter to the movies, don’t get worked up over that. This really isn’t a factor till at least halfway into the movie and it ties in nicely. It wasn’t like it gushy or very in your face. It’s actually quite educational for most people, since most people probably aren’t familiar with the Lumiere brothers.
I mentioned it earlier, but one of the greatest parts of this film is not the main story. The train station is home to many people and stories and since a number of scenes are of Hugo being a creeper and watching people, you get introduced to a variety of characters (all by talented actors). These scenes are fairly short, but the amount of information and character development gleaned in a few seconds here and there is amazing. I mean Cohen’s character, the Inspector, has quite a bit of depth and by the end of the film each story concludes nicely. I mean Scorsese did a wonderfully job in creating such a large world.
I loved Hugo and to me a number of the nominations make sense. I definitely prefer Hugo over the Artist. It’s a great fantasy film that is very well-rounded. As much as I loathe 3D, I kinda wish I saw this in 3D since I can see how it would actually work nicely in 3D. So, if you haven’t seen Hugo, watch it. You may not love it, but I have a hard time imagining that anyone would hate it.
You can see more of my articles at Film Daze