Skip to main content

Hugo

Movie Review: Hugo (2011)
Summary: An orphan who lives in the walls of a train station is wrapped up in a mystery involving his late father and an automaton.
Spoilers: none

Hugo is the enchanting story of “Hugo Cabret” (Asa Butterfield), a boy who lives within the walls of a train station in the early 1930s in Paris.

With the death of his father (Jude Law), Hugo is left to be cared for by his alcoholic uncle “Claude” (Ray Winstone). All Hugo has left from father is a wind-up automaton discarded from a museum.

While working as a clock apprentice, Hugo meets “Georges Méliès” (Ben Kingsley) with his wife (Helen McCrory) and goddaughter “Isabelle” (Chloë Grace Moretz). Isabelle and Hugo
become close friends.

Living without school or tutoring and having to keep his whereabouts secret to avoid the humorously garnished but seriously dutiful “Inspector” (Sacha Baron Cohen), Hugo tries to rebuild the automaton while piecing together the meaning behind his father’s death and his own existence.

Hugo is brought to us in well-fortified 3D, but with what is offered, it certainly wasn’t necessary. There is enough visual splendor here to go around, as Hugo graciously works its visual wonders in the likeness of Mary Poppins crossed with elements from a whole slew of Disney movies.

The somber mood created by the settings and lighting builds us up, allowing audiences to reap the full benefits of a lustrously emotive and heartwarming tale. By the time we learn of the plight of our strong young lead, we are already enthralled with what can only be listed as first-class family viewing.

You don’t expect it to appeal on as many levels as it does, but this isn’t just due to our two leads that happen to be so piercingly charismatic. In Hugo, no one fails to play a part in a story christened with Martin Scorsese’s directorial touch.

Cohen's Inspector opens up to us and immediately we recognize him as the successful comedian taking his talents in an awkward-but-still-funny direction. He reminds us a little of Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther, although no one is prepared for his work in such a remarkably reserved role as this one, which features an often understated humor. When the antics are otherwise for the sake of younger audiences, adults don't mind too much.

At every step, Hugo is a fine screenplay. It radiates the utmost quality from the edge of competent storytelling skills. Scorsese knows how to touch our soft spots while maintaining his usual stylistic eccentricities, and he does so in a film that can’t help but play on our sympathies and our sense of adventure while knowing when and where to pull back to keep us watching, hoping, and guessing.

Hugo is nearly unstoppable as it goes after the imaginations of every kid – and with an innocence rarely equaled in film today – but there are no subclasses of viewers here. Everyone stands to have a heart-to-heart with a movie that will affect adults in the same eye-watering way it affects kids.

When the final cuts have been called and a script has been flushed out to this degree, Hugo is the result—endowed with the magic that allows it to take off. This is the film to beat in 2011.

(JH)

Grade: A+ (4 stars)
Rated: PG (for mild thematic material, some action/peril and smoking)
Director: Martin Scorsese
Starring: “Georges Méliès” (Ben Kingsley), “Station Inspector” (Sacha Baron Cohen), “Hugo Cabret” (Asa Butterfield), “Isabelle” (Chloë Grace Moretz), “Uncle Claude” (Ray Winstone), “Lisette” (Emily Mortimer), “Monsieur Labisse” (Christopher Lee), “Mama Jeanne” (Helen McCrory), “Rene Tabard” (Michael Stuhlbarg), “Madame Emilie” (Frances de la Tour), “Hugo’s Father” (Jude Law)
Genre: Adventure / Drama / Family / Fantasy / Mystery
Trailer

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

When Jesus Turns Down the Glory: 10 Worst Ever Christian Songs

It’s a sad testimony when even the creator of a thing realizes that the product isn’t what it was intended to be. Well, actually it’s a good thing. It just doesn’t happen often enough. The Christian music industry is, shall we say, not up to par with where its admirers (and even creators and ardent well-wishers) would hope it would be. And when even the average believer realizes that their music is not market-cornering stuff, all should know that there is a problem.

Now not all Christian music sucks (you might even find a few rock songs from artists like Petra on Joe Holman’s ipod that he still sometimes listens to and enjoys), but what makes the stuff that does suck suck is that what sucks sucks for a number of different reasons. We begin the countdown going from best of the worst to absolute worst...

Movie Review: The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

When free spirit “Jules” (Anna “Go Girls” Hutchison) tells her best friend “Dana” (Kristen “Revolutionary Road” Connolly) what a good time they’ll be having at a cabin in the remote woods, you automatically know and are glad that she has no idea at all what awaits her or her friends, and neither does Jules’ jock boyfriend “Curt” (Chris “Thor” Hemsworth). The same is true of their intellectual friend with his notably piercing gaze, “Holden” (Jesse “Grey’s Anatomy” Williams) and their stoner friend “Marty” (Franz “The Village” Kranz) who seems to have a better grasp of reality, despite himself. Takes all kinds.

After taking off in the RV up the mountain, they stop for gas and run into a weirdly cryptic and confrontational gas station attendant (Tim De Zarn). When they’re back on the road after a near-fight, it isn’t long before they arrive and forget all about it. Following horror movie suit in letting out their whoas about how cool the place is and how much fun they will have losing t…

Movie Review: Django Unchained (2012)

At about 3 hours long, Django Unchained is Quentin Tarantino’s latest mental sickness-inspired adventure of a slave named “Django” (Jamie Foxx) who is freed by a German dentist-turned-bounty hunter, “Dr. King Schultz” (Christoph Waltz) who helps Django rescue his enslaved wife from a cruel plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio) in Mississippi.