A film full of enchantment, wonderment and a sweet story that will delight just about everyone.
Martin Scorsese doing a 3D film designed to entertain and stir the imagination of young and old alike; and without Leonardo DiCaprio? Meet HUGO. A film full of enchantment, wonderment and a sweet story that will delight just about everyone. I am not sure I have seen a film geared toward kids with as much depth and artistic design.
The story comes from the book by Brian Selznick, “The Invention of Hugo Cabret”. Set in a Paris train station during the 1930’s, an orphan named Hugo (Asa Butterfield) spends his days hiding in the clock tower where he keeps the clocks running and tries to repair an automaton left to him by his late father (Jude Law). He strikes up a friendship with the goddaughter (Chloë Grace Moretz) of a local toy maker named Georges Méliès (Ben Kingsley)and together they uncover a mystery that may help Hugo find healing.
It is easy to say that adults will get more from this film than the kids they drag along to see it. Sure it is rated PG and an absolute joy for the whole family but the story line has such a beautiful, whimsical foundation that adults will find it so endearing and enchanting. Though this is a fictional story, Georges Méliès was a real person and his work weaves through out this film in wonderful narration. Referred to as the First "Cinemagician. Méliès was a French filmmaker whose technique and style paved the way for all cinema to come.
Kingsley delivers an award winning performance as the filmmaker who has lost his passion for the art that gave him life. It is Hugo who shows him that we all have a purpose on this earth to invest in the lives of others. This mix of cinema history and whimsical story telling makes HUGO a delightful adventure with stunning visuals. This is the first non animated 3D film that left me in awe. Scorsese shows that this type of film making can be stylish and jaw dropping. The backdrop of 30s Paris with extravagant characters, and colorful scenery is elevated to cinematic glory in the 3D realm.
The cast is perfectly mixed with some surprising outcomes. Sacha Baron Cohen brings comic relief as the Station inspector set on ridding the train depot of truant youth. Christopher Lee plays a book store owner, Emily Mortimer a flower girl, and Michael Stuhlbarg the film historian who may hold all the answers. None of this would matter without the delivery and presence of Butterfield as the orphan who will grab your heart.
Hugo is rated PG for mild thematic material, some action/peril and smoking. it is a bit over two hours so I worry that the 10 and under crowd may get a little antsy. There is not a lot of slapstick nonsense and goofy humor to distract. This film relies on superb storytelling and adds to it visual artistry. As an adult I loved the glimpse into the early stages of film making. It is almost like Scorsese has a story inside a story with this one. He is treating us to such a cinematic treat while explaining how films have impacted our lives; all without a hidden agenda or anything other than pure entertainment. I give it 5 out of 5 cog wheels. This film delivers everything you would want it to and tosses in so many added surprises.
Review copyright 2011 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.