Friday, January 4, 2013

Hugo (2011)

When most folks hear the name Martin Scorsese, you imagine gritty, gangster, realistic flicks with a hard-hitting edge. A delightful family film never enters your mind. But in 2011 Scorsese attempted just that, and in the bargain attempted it all using 3D. Was the result worth checking out?

Welcome to Paris in the 1930s, where a young boy named Hugo lives in the walls of the Paris train station and tends the many mechanical clocks, to ensure they are always accurate. However, Hugo has a secret, no one knows that he is the one performing these tasks, and must remain hidden or else he’ll be caught by the Station Inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen) and sent to the orphanage. Unfortunately, Hugo must steal to survive, and that puts him in direct danger every day. One day, he is caught by the cantankerous Georges (Ben Kingsley), a toy maker who seems intrigued and annoyed by the little thief.

Further mystery unfolds when Hugo meets the pretty niece of Georges, Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moretz). To solve the mystery, the two much delve into Georges past as a silent filmmaker, reactivate a mechanical man and witness a trip to the moon. Prepare yourself for some laughs, some adventure, an intriguing mystery and a love of movies as you take a trip with Hugo.

Good Points:
  • Amazing use of visuals
  • Solid acting by the entire cast
  • Wears a love of movies on its sleeve

Bad Points:
  • Some of the humor with the Station Inspector doesn’t click
  • Relies on some knowledge and appreciation of silent film
  • Those looking for typical gritty Scorsese will be disappointed

For any fan of film, this is an easy movie to enjoy. Scorcese’s enthusiasm for the visuals comes right through. So does his love of movies, with all kinds of references (obvious and subtle) to silent film. But the heart of the story, about Hugo and his father is really what makes the whole thing click. This is an easy recommendation to anyone looking for a fun and visually absorbing family oriented film. And it was a wonderful musical score by Howard Shore.

Scores (out of 5)
Visuals: 5
Sound: 4
Acting: 4
Script: 4
Music: 4
Direction: 5
Entertainment: 4
Total:  4

Curious about a full review, sent me an email and I’ll make additional thoughts to this review.   


  1. This is a marvelous, captivating, and beautifully filmed movie, especially suited for those with some interest in the early years of film. Yet, though I usually enjoy seeing films I rate so highly a second (or third or fourth) time, I have no particular urge to see this one again. I can't really explain that, but there it is. I do recommend it to anyone once, though.

    1. I can kind of see that actually. I'm in no rush to rewatch it, but I can see revisiting it somewhere down the line. I am annoyed that I missed this in the theater in 3D. I can imagine that the visuals were really impressive.