Hugo Movie Review
First of all, cynics… Please escort yourself out of this review. This review (and this film) is not a place for cynics… Seriously… Leave, and just don’t come back.
Because, here is a film that is just plain flat out wonderful. It’s a movie that had me leaving in a great mood, smiling, and happy that I saw it. This is, after all, Martin Scorsese… Who is a guy that probably understands filmmaking and movies better than any other living director currently. And, it shows here. Because, this film is one big giant tribute to film as an artform, and it is wonderful.
There is something just plain magical about it, even though there is no magic within the film. I guess what lends itself to that is just how warm and inviting the film looks. This is GORGEOUS cinematography on display here (I almost can’t believe it’s the same cinematographer as “Shutter Island” and “Inglourious Basterds”).
It’s even more gorgeous, however, thanks to awesome uses of 3D… In fact, I’d advise you to see this ONLY in 3D… It’s clear that these shots and the cinematography, the way scenes are framed and composed, the way the camera moves… All of it was SPECIALLY designed just for 3D. There’s never any gimmick scenes of them pointing out to the audience, or completely breaking the fourth wall for a cheap 3D effect. This is probably the best use of 3D I’ve ever seen (maybe even better than “Avatar”), because Scorsese is a f*cking genius, and knows how to shoot in ANY medium.
But, maybe what is so grand about this film is its heart, its passion, and its absolute child-like convictions in its storytelling. There were multiple points that I just listened to the dialogue, and just marveled at what these characters were saying, because it was just so beautiful. There’s just something about how it coaxes that inner child into its world.
There is a strong emotional core to what is happening here that makes the movie just plain inviting. What these characters are dealing with internally are things that is much more complex than we’d get in a regular family film. These characters, and their conflicts actually have weight to them. As a result, we love these characters, and grow to become immersed in this dream-like adventure.
This, of course, would mean nothing if the acting wasn’t good… But, the acting here may be the best collection of performances in any one movie that I’ve seen all year. Especially Asa Butterfield as the main character Hugo. This kid… i don’t know how he pulls off the weighty emotional dimensions he displays here, but this kid does it, and does it f*cking well. Chloe Moretz has ALWAYS been good, and its really no different here. In fact, every character is given something to do, and no one is really thrown away (except for one character, but we’ll get to that later).
I don’t know why or how this film managed to transport me back to what it feels like to be a kid again… But, I was totally there while watching this film. I’m truly gobsmacked, because I want to explain it. But, the movie just feels “good” throughout. There’s never a moment in which the films goes cynical just to try and appeal to an adult audience. It WILL appeal to all because of how genuine and earnest it all is.
Are there any issues? Yes: the first 10 minutes. It just feels awkward, and like its struggling to find its footing. But, once it does, it is as confident as can be. And, there is one subplot that, while it wouldn’t have fit to include more of it, just feels kind half-assed and unfinished. And, watching it, you can probably guess which one it is, and you’ll probably agree.
Quibbles aside, this will no doubt make my top 10 list of this year. It’s well acted, well shot, well directed, and just altogether beautifully made. As you can see, I’ve intentionally avoided explaining the plot because what makes this so good is finding out for yourself what the mystery behind it all is. It’s Martin Scorsese’s first foray into family entertainment & 3D filmmaking… And, he knocks it out of the park while making it look f*cking easy.
SCORE: 9.0 (out of 10) = HELLA DOPE