Rated – PG
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Starring: Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, Chloe Grace Moretz
The word “magical” is the most important word that comes to mind when describing Martin Scorsese’s latest tale. Despite popular belief, Hugo is not a film that children will enjoy. It is a fantastic triumph in capturing imagination from a mature audience through the eyes of a young boy in search for answers. I’m not used to saying this at all but I must admit that the 3-D technology is fabulous in Hugo. If you do intend to see it, do yourself a favor and throw on those plastic glasses and go for the ride.
Based on a book from Brian Selznick, the story is set in early 1930s Paris where the young, orphaned Hugo (Butterfield) lives and works in a train station. He keeps maintaining the clocks so no one will suspect his drunken uncle to be missing and throw him in an orphanage. Hugo’s greatest passion is to fix a broken automaton that his passed father saved from the museum and hoped to repair. It is believed that the automaton can write and Hugo suspects it has a message from his father.
A piece to the mystery surrounding the automaton lies within Papa Georges (Kingsley), a toy shop owner who falls victim of Hugo’s thieving lifestyle. But when Hugo befriends his goddaughter, Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moretz), the two children embark on their adventure.
Hugo is a very ambitious film from legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese. It’s his first on the new medium, but don’t let the children-heavy, imaginative story fool you. This is a very deep and thoughtful film about the magic of films and how it affects those who share a deep love for it. Hugo is poetic and plays on several levels. It can be a brief history on the origin and breakthrough of movies, and it can serve as Scorsese expressing his own passion for films and how he’s breaking new ground with the 3-D technology. And let me just say where many have tried and failed with dark and blurry images, he hit a homerun on his first at-bat.
As for the leads, Butterfield didn’t give a spectacular performance, while Kingsley and Moretz were strong but nothing special. The real performance is Scorcese at the throne, reminding all of us that he is still the king of cinema. Hugo will make you recall the first movie you watched and the way it made you feel. Were you surprised that such emotion and joy could be captured on a reel being projected onto a screen? Did you instantly fall in love with the magic of movies? Did you create an imaginary bond with your favorite filmmakers throughout the years? I certainly have, and Hugo simply reminded me.