While I already wanted to see this movie,Hugo’s five Academy Award wins over eleven nominations cemented my need to see this film ASAP. I now have a greater understanding as to why so many critics have been calling this past year and the nominees for Best Picture were all about the movies, besides the obvious.
I’ve heard Hugo is Martin Scorsese’s love letter to the movies. And if you know anything about Scorsese, besides just his films, you know that he’s all about the classics and keeping them preserved for future generations to cherish and enjoy. With that said, there’s a serious nod to the wonderful world of books. I couldn’t help but think of a few of my friends who have a passion for reading. This movie marries the two perfectly. Kids, keep reading and you can throw out big words on the fly too!
It’s not lost on me that Hugo is based on a book. Not only that, but loosely based on the true story of pioneer filmmaker Georges Méliès, who was responsible for this:
I think finding out how much of the story was actually true really made me appreciate the film even more. But I’ll back up to talk a little about the movie itself, which I admit I really didn’t know much about prior to watching.
Hugo is an orphan living and working at the train station. His father was a clock maker, and from him he learned a lot about how to fix things. His father found a creepy looking robot looking thing (called a automaton, but it really looks creepy) and was attempting to repair it. After his death, Hugo continued trying to repairing it, stealing what he needed to try to fix it from toy shop owner Georges, played by the brilliant Ben Kingsley. He later befriends Georges’ goddaughter and the two go on a series of adventures trying to unlock the mystery of the automaton and what secrets Georges is hiding. They attempt all of this while staying one step ahead of the station inspector, played by Borat himself, Sacha Baron Cohen.
Scorsese shot this in 3D, and I wish I saw it that way. I think there’s something that should be said when an expert filmmaker takes on a new style. Watching the film in 2D, I could only imagine where and how things would be brought to life. I’ve seen enough bad or misused 3D films to make me biased against them, but then I’ll see a movie like Hugo and see how it should’ve been used. So I can see why it won a lot of the technical awards it won such as sound and special effects (I was pulling for Transformers).
It’s a great family film that adults can easily enjoy too, just as long as they don’t get too bored. I’m not calling it a boring movie, I just happened to be watching it with my father and I gauge a movie’s boring level based on if he falls asleep on it. He was close, but he made it through and said he liked it even though his guess as to what the movie’s plot was way off.
As for me, I would watch this again and I wouldn’t mind adding it to my collection as an avid cinephile and lover of films new and old. I recently told a friend that this film is a great companion piece to the other much talked about movie this past year, The Artist. They both take place in the same time period and both deal with silent films and filmmaking. This would make for a great double feature, and I’d start with Hugo and slice in The Artist while the kids are at the theater. Perfect cinema at it’s best.