Hugo

(2011)

Genres: Adventure, Drama, Family

Review: Hugo

Transcript for Review: Hugo

CHRISTY LEMIRE:

And I’m Christy Lemire of the Associated Press. The story is set in 1920s Paris, where the title character -- an orphaned boy played by Asa Butterfield -- secretly lives inside the walls of a train station and keeps all the clocks running on time.

Hugo is fascinated by machinery -- a hobby he shared with his late father, played in flashbacks by Jude Law. The one item that still connects him with his beloved dad is a shiny metallic automaton the two were fixing together. Turns out this machine may also connect him with the mean old man who works at the train station toy shop, played by Ben Kingsley.

Hugo gets some help in solving this mystery from the toy shop owner's goddaughter, Isabelle, played by Chloe Grace Moretz. The two spend a lot of time snooping around, dreaming and trying to escape the clutches of the dastardly police inspector. He's played by Sacha Baron Cohen, who injects great comic relief.

"Hugo" offers the most dazzling use of 3-D I've seen yet -- more so than "Avatar," even. It's gorgeous, with all the fluid camera work, dramatic lighting and impeccable production values you would expect from a Scorsese film. I just love that at this stage in his career, when he's been revered as a master for decades and has nothing left to prove, he's chosen to make this kind of bold creative leap. Thumbs up from me.

IGNATIY:

This is a big thumbs up from me as well.

CHRISTY:

Okay.

IGNATIY:

And the 3D here—I’m going to use a word that you really love…

CHRISTY:

Do I?

IGNATIY:

Yes, it’s germane to what Scorsese is doing.

CHRISTY:

It is germane absolutely.

IGNATIY:

Because kind of the beauty of this film is how he constructs this world, and he—it’s completely—it is conceived in 3D. The way he uses these very long, fluid takes, you know, often travelling from one room into another or through all of these hidden passages and hallways to create the sense of this fully realized fantasy world.

CHRISTY:

Right, there’s this one big long opening tracking shot through the train station and up into Hugo’s lair.

IGNATIY:

Right up into the clock, yeah.

CHRISTY:

It is just like the famous shot in Goodfellas where they go through the back of the restaurant and down to the table so you do have Scorsese—Scorsese-ish trademarks here, but it’s a family film from Scorsese. Like how different is that at this stage in his career.

IGNATIY:

It is but as you said the, you know, there is silent film at the—at the center of the plot…

CHRISTY:

Right.

IGNATIY:

It’s something that’s defintely very near and dear to his heart, and though, you don’t see the same maybe themes that, you know, that people usually associate with Scorsese, the visual intelligence that I think is behind—the energy that’s behind all of his films is definintely present here. That’s—and that’s what makes this such a great movie. I mean technically its only got like two sentences worth of plot, but it seems to have so much going on just because there’s so much going on visually. There’s so much to see, so much to show.

CHRISTY:

Right, and I like how you don’t have to know about silent film at all to enjoy or to learn from it, and also, kids will dig it cus it’s just bright and beautiful, and it’s a great kid adventure so it really works for everyone on all levels here.