Sunday, December 4, 2011



Asa Butterfield,
Chloë Grace Moretz


November 23, 2011 (LIMITED)

Martin Scorsese

Paramount Pictures

2 hours 6 minutes



There is a character in Martin Scorsese's new 3D kid flick 'Hugo' that says "movies are where dreams come to life." I've never thought about film that way before, but I now believe that statement after seeing this movie. 'Hugo,' based on the 2007 children's novel 'The Invention of Hugo Cabret,' tells the story of a young orphan named Hugo who runs the clocks in a French train station. His father died in a fire, and his uncle is a drunk, so he's basically living alone. Hugo's father had found a mechanical figure called an automaton prior to his death, and Hugo believes that this machine has a message from his father inside. Things get more complicated for the boy as he stumbles into the life of a cranky toy shop owner with secrets of his own, and his courageous goddaughter whose only desire in life is to go on an adventure. The experience I had with the film was the equivalent of a kid's first trip to the circus. 'Hugo' is pure cinema magic, with the pixie dust to this high flying spectacle of a fairy tale added by everyone and everything in this film, especially the immersive 3D.

Scorsese really knows how to make a film with an incredible cast in mind. Everybody in this movie play their parts of both comedy and drama flawlessly. Asa Butterfield, the young title character, is magnificent showing both the trauma and joy of being a young kid with a big mind. His kid co-star Chloe Moretz of the movie 'Kick Ass' is amazing as she always is. Moretz's character Isabelle resembles that adventurous side in all of us that wants to break out and try something new, and I love to see that in these types of films. The true acting chops in the film belong to the legendary Ben Kingsley, who's portrayal of the toy shop owner/ supposedly forgotten filmmaker Georges Méliès is highly worthy of a Supporting Actor nomination, maybe even a win this year.

The true surprise of the cast to me came from a man who has never been afraid to expose everything he's got. Sacha Baron Cohen delivers the best performance of his career as the bumbling yet devious station inspector who has a knack for finding orphaned children and sending them, well, to the orphanage. He may be bumbling and falling over to make little kiddies laugh, but Scorsese made a very smart decision casting him as this character. The rest of the small parted yet amazing supporting cast, including Emily Mortimer and Christopher Lee are all great for the parts they play, which sadly are very small for how huge of actors they are. The cast adds a whole new dimension to what could have been a slapstick dud by Mr. Scorsese, metaphorically just like how the 3D does.

3D hasn't been used so perfectly since the one that started it all: 'Avatar.' Come to think of it, this movie has better use of 3D than the landmark James Cameron flick ever did. At first 3D was supposed to be an experience when things pop out of the screen and into your eyes. Now these days Hollywood has treated it as a gimmick, filming almost anything in the third dimension whether it's necessary or not. Scorsese was smart to shoot this film in 3D because the audience is able to get themselves sucked into this fantastic world of fun and terror, despite the occasional object that flies at the audience. 3D is supposed to swallow you into the world you paid $20 to see, and this movie not only does that, but makes you believe that you are there with Hugo. I swear to you that 'Hugo' is something you have to see in 3D, despite having to shell out a few extra dollars for the goofy glasses. If you check this movie out in 2D, you will not have the same experience as you would in 3D.

'Hugo' is a triumphant 3D family flick with adults and cinephiles probably liking it more than younger audiences. The little ones will be entertained by the slapstick humor of Baron Cohen, as well as the side story between an older couple and a tiny dog. Adults and cinephiles will be entertained by the film's huge heart and Kingsley's magnificent and somewhat heartbreaking portrayal of Georges Méliès. Anyone else who is over the age of 10 will enjoy this movie because inn some ways they can relate to any of the characters in this movie. You could be an adult like boy who can take care of yourself like Hugo, or you can be a sheltered person who wants to seek adventure like Isabelle. Whatever age you are, you shall find something to like in this film.

'Hugo' is more than just a family film: it's a film for everyone. Take your friends; take your family; take that neighbor down the street who you really don't care for that much. 'Hugo' deserves a larger audience than it's currently receiving, and I hope that families/adults find this movie somewhere during the holidays and check it out. For the true cinephiles out there in the world, do a double feature with this (in 3D!) and 'The Artist.' Two movies about the history of cinema: the greatest movie theater experience you may ever have when it comes to knowing something about really old films.


The Adventures of Tintin

Star Wars Episode I:
The Phantom Menace 3D

The Lorax

The Pirates: Band of Misfits

Titanic 3D

The Amazing Spider-Man

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- Zach Marsh