Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Today I saw Hugo, starring Asa Butterfield and Ben Kingsley.

When I think of Martin Scorsese, the first images that come to mind are those from brilliant-yet-violent Taxi Driver and Goodfellas. Never did I think I'd be attending a 'family film' (in 3D, no less) directed by this legend. But that's what I did today.

Hugo (Butterfield) is a young boy who loses his father in a fire and is taught how to run the Paris train station clock by his uncle. When his uncle disappears, he is left to fend for himself, stealing breakfast pastries to eat and tools to make sure the clock keeps working.

There is a nasty station inspector (played annoyingly by Sacha Baron Cohen) who is anxious to send Hugo (and any other unaccompanied children) to the orphanage; there's also a true friend found in Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moertz), a girl who is being raised by a nearby toy booth owner Georges (Kingsley) and his wife.

In this small cluster of characters, through a museum piece Hugo is working hard to fix (it was his dad's last pet project before his passing), we are taken back to the beginning of film and the importance of not letting go of our passions.

To explain how it happens would be to give too much away, but I will say that though I was never bored, I didn't quite see the need for 3D with this story. The heart of the screenplay was strong enough that the few 'wow' effects that were showcased were merely icing on an already yummy cake.

Hugo is sweet and sincere and great for the whole family, but save yourself the extra dollars and see it sans 3D. You'll surely love it all the same.


1 comment:

JG said...

If a filmgoer had approached a film professor twenty years ago and told him or her that Martin Scorsese would one day direct a children's film, said individual would have been laughed out of the classroom. And yet, the man whom many consider the world's greatest living director has managed to craft an imaginative, engaging, and endearing tale -- by far his personal work to date -- fit for all ages. At first consideration, one would peg Scorsese as the last director to helm this picture. But after seeing the film, one realizes that no other director could have made this picture.

A side note: between the monkey in 'The Hangover 2', the equine cast members of 'War Horse', and the dogs in 'The Artist' and 'Hugo', 2011 is responsible for more impressive animal acting than any other year in recent cinema history. Perhaps a special clip compilation for the 84th Academy Awards is in order.