Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Movie Review: "Hugo" (2011)

Image Source

Oscar Movie"Hugo"
Year Nominated: 2011
Director: Martin Scorsese
Rating: PG
Running Time: 2 hours, 6 minutes
Did It Win?: No.

A young orphan named Hugo (Asa Butterfield) lives in the clock towers of a Paris train station. He is trying to fix a clockwork automaton that his father found before dying in a tragic accident.  While trying to steal parts for his automaton from a toy shop he is caught by the shop's owner Papa Georges (Ben Kingsley). Papa Georges forces Hugo to empty his pockets revealing a notebook with diagrams for the automaton.  Georges seems to recognize the drawings and takes the notebook from Hugo. Hugo desperate to get it back asks Georges' god daughter Isabelle (Chlöe Grace Moretz) for help. She agrees but in their search they start to uncover secrets about Papa Georges past and his connection with the automaton.  

We saw "Hugo" in the theater in 3D when it was first released. At the time, we didn't go to nearly as many movies as we wanted to, but we wanted to catch this one since it was nominated for Best Picture. We will say that it was visually spectacular watching it in 3D, something we could usually care less about, and this is probably the best use of the 3D technology we have ever seen, and yes, this is coming from people who watched "Avatar" in its intended form. One might worry that while watching at home, the film could lose some of its impact compared to the big screen, but now, even a few years later, watching it at home in plain ol' 2D, "Hugo" is still a beautiful and visually stunning film. It is a wonderful story and is so well shot that it translates amazingly and doesn't require a grand scale or 3D gimmick to enjoy, especially if you are cinephiles like we are. Director Martin Scorsese does an amazing job bringing this story to life. Atypical of his usual gangster fare, he made the film at the behest of his young daughter, who loved the book. It's a pretty big step away from what he is used to, but he wanted to do something that his daughter and other kids could enjoy (although, when they grow up, they should definitely see "Goodfellas" once or twice). It is also an homage to the silent film era, particularly the work of Georges Méliès, played excellently in this film by Ben Kingsley. In fact, pretty much all of the actors involved in this film put on good performances. Asa Butterfield, who was a relative newcomer to acting at the time, plays the titular role of Hugo, a charming boy who has had a hard life and simply wants to reconnect with his father. From there, a mystery unravels and the answers will not only uncover some unintended results, but it will change the lives of those involved.

"Hugo" wonderfully mixes fantasy and magic with film history in this underrated Best Picture nominee. Majestically unfolding right before your eyes, this movie is a stupendous poem to the days of yore in film history. Just because it is a movie intended for kids doesn't mean it can't be enjoyed adults, and just because it is a movie about cinematic history doesn't mean people won't identify with it if they aren't hardcore film lovers. Its whimsical animation and general enchantment make this movie one you should definitely see at some point in your life.

My Rating: 9/10
BigJ's Rating: 10/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 94%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment