Hugo tells the story of a young boy named Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) who lives in the the railway station Gare Montparnasse in Paris. With his father (Jude Law) dead and his drunk uncle gone Hugo is left alone to fend for himself and wind the clocks in the station. He also has an automaton that he is trying to fix. To do so Hugo steals parts from a local toy maker (Ben Kingsley) making himself an enemy right quick. But at the same time he also makes a friend, Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moretz) the toymakers god daughter. As Hugo and Isabelle begin to unravel the mystery of the automaton, they reopen an age old mystery involving Isabelle’s godfather, whom she calls Papa Georges.
What’s wonderful about Hugo is that you get so much in one film. You get a wonderfully magical story that can be enjoyed by children of all ages. You get a intriguing mystery that wraps up you and whisks you away. You get several wonderful relationships that build throughout the film. First and foremost, of course, is Hugo and Isabelle, but there are several minor characters in the station that evolve throughout the film including the security guard with a gimp leg, Insector Gustave (Sacha Baron Cohen). Lastly, you get the troubled but most important relationship between Hugo and Papa Georges.
On top of all of this you get a film that is a beautiful love letter to early cinema. Specifically George Méliès, one of the first people to realize that you could tell stories with film. While a fictional tale, the aspects of the film that focus on Méliès are very much based in reality.
What really holds this whole film together is Asa Butterfield. As Hugo he is the main character and if we couldn’t believe in him then everything would fall apart. Asa is fantastic as Hugo and everything falls into place. Everyone in the film is wonderful. Cohen gives one of his best performances and Kingsley sweeps you away. Even in the small role of the librarian, Christopher Lee nails it. As does Jude Law in his small role as Hugo’s father, appearing only in flashback.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick is a fantastic children’s book and Hugo is just about the best adaptation any fan of the book could have hoped for. Scorsese proves once again why he is one of the greatest filmmakers alive today. Even when delving into a genre he’s never thought about before, he still delivers a film worth of being nominated for Best Director and Best Film of the year.
This film is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen and 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound. This film looks and sounds fantastic. And I must say, seeing it in 2-D takes nothing away from the theatrical 3-D experience. The impeccable filmmaking stands up on it’s own.
Shoot The Moon: The Making Of…: (20 min.) Classic making of, talks about all the aspects of the making of the film that you’d want to hear about. The Cinemagician, Georges Melies: (16 min.) Melies is basically the reason we have modern filmmaking and this short is a great intro to the master and his amazing work. The Mechanical Man at the heart of Hugo: (13 min.) A look at the automaton in the film. And yes, it’s real and it works. You also get a history of automatons which is very interesting. Big Effects, Small Scale: (6 min.) A great little featurette about the dream sequence of the train crash. And no, the train wasn’t CGI, it was a model. Old school filmmaking! Sacha Baron Cohen: Role of a Lifetime: (3 min.) And lastly, a great little look at Cohen’s fantastic performance in this film. Great interview with Scorsese and Cohen. Thought I’m not sure how much of this is to be believed. It is Cohen after all. You also get a DVD and Digital copy of the film.
If you have a love of cinema you owe it to yourself ot see Hugo Scorsese is at the top of his game here delving into a new genre and doing many things he’s never done before and doing them well. With a fantastic cast and magical story, you surely won’t be disapointed.
Paramount Pictures presents Hugo. Directed by: Martin Scorsese. Written by John Logan. Based on the novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. Starring: Ben Kingsley, Asa Butterfield, Cloe Grace Moretz, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jude Law and Christopher Lee. Running time: 126 min. Rating: PG. Released on DVD: February 28, 2012. Available at Amazon.com.
Tags: Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, christopher lee, Hugo, jude law, Martin Scorsese, Sacha Baron Cohen, The Invention Of Hugo Cabret