Movie Review: Hugo (2011)

Posted: April 15, 2012 in Drama
Tags: , , ,

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Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) is a young orphan growing up in Paris.  He scavenges parts, springs, washers, screws, nuts and bolts to rebuild an automaton that his dad built from scratch.  Hugo’s stealing makes him a target of a local merchant, Georges Melies (Ben Kingsley)  and a local police inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen) with a penchant for nabbing young street urchins.  Luckily, Hugo befriends Georges’ god-daughter Isabelle.(Chloe Grace Moretz) and after much hesitation, Hugo reveals  that he lives in a clock above Paris, which he winds and keeps running daily.  Hugo finally assembles the automaton, with the help of Isabelle and a heart shaped key she wears around her neck.  The Automaton starts to draw something and then stops, Hugo feels like a failure, but then the automaton starts to draw again, and finishes a picture, what is it a picture of and why does Isabelle have the key to  start the automaton?

This movie is obviously Scorcese’s love letter to the movies.  Scorcese illustrates his love for movies through the voices of Hugo, who tells Isabella more than once how much his father loves the movies.  Scorcese’s  love is further illustrated when Hugo hangs from a clock, like silent movie star Harold Lloyd.  Hugo is a visually arresting movie, especially in 3D, Scorcese never forgets that film is a visual medium.  Even with all the things that go right with this movie, there are things that are wrong with this movie.  The film is too long and the pacing is somewhat slow, Scorcese even manages to put in a plug for his favorite pet project, film preservation.  Here’s a pet peeve of mine, all the characters speak with British accents, why?  The acting is superb.  Ben Kingsley is very good as a ‘broken’ man, who thinks life has passed him by.  Asa Butterworth is very good as a sensitive young orphan who believes he’s found his purpose.  Chloe Moretz is very good as Hugo’s ever supportive friend, and Sacha Baron Cohen injects some much needed levity to  a movie that tends to be a bit stodgy.

Hugo.  You go, and see it.

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