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Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Hugo - 2011
Time after time throughout what is considered one of the most respected career's in film making history, Martin Scorsese never ceases to amaze film lovers around the world. It's funny though, after last year's release "Shutter Island" which received shockingly low reviews, everyone seems to have lost faith the man, not only saying Hugo will be a let down, but that it will possibly be Scorsese's worst work yet. Obviously, as soon as the reviews came pouring in all of the haters shut up, and I must admit a 97% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes does speak for itself. Now, with that being said, the biggest question of the day is will Hugo have a shot at a Best Picture nomination? The good news for you, the reader, is that I have a perfectly logical answer to that question, it does not matter if it gets any nominations at all!
There are so many words to describe Hugo; imaginative, magical, intelligent, sweet, touching, and all of the above do not do the film justice. Of course at this moment you, the hater, are saying to yourself, "oh that Scorsese fan boy idiot, he don't know what he's talkin' about". If this you, before you judge me too harshly, watch the film for yourself with an open mind, and unbiased opinion, and I promise you that you will at the very least enjoy this movie. Not only does Hugo make you feel like a kid again, it has an incredible load of film history along with it! How awesome is that?
Ever heard of a man named Georges Melies? Probably not, and if you have you more then likely don't know much about him, that being the category I fall into, at least before I saw Hugo anyway. Melies is one of the world's earliest film makers, and believe it or not, there is not a single film of his that registers on the tomato meter, yet an entire full length feature was quite subtly made about him. Hugo is both a fictional tale, a wonderful fantasy, all while being a glorious tribute to the career of Georges Melies. Roger Ebert says Hugo is possibly the film that is closest to Scorsese's heart, and clearly Melies and his great influence is one of the many reasons why.
As for the story, it begins with a boy named Hugo Cabret, (Asa Butterfield) he is a young, talented son of a clock maker. When his father dies in a fire, Hugo is left nothing but an automaton (human-like robot) that has a very important secret which will forever change Hugo's life. In order to fix this broken robot, Hugo must first go on an adventure, meeting a life long friend along the way.
Well I am not going to pretend like that short summary even comes close to summing up the story, and don't even begin to think that is the type of film you are going to see. Hugo is the kind of movie that cannot be spoiled. I don't mean like key plot points, the ending, etc. I mean this brilliant piece of art has to be experienced for the first time with little knowledge of what's facing you, and the viewer must be open to the idea of this plot. The thing is you have to be ready, you have to know that Hugo is not only unlike anything Scorsese has ever done, but probably unlike anything anyone has ever seen. Truly. Not to say the film is some groundbreaking work, but to say this kind of magic, this kind of imagination is not heard of these days. In this particular category crediting both Scorsese and Brian Selznick.
Ebert says in his review, and I have never in my life heard him say anything close to this, that Hugo uses 3-D properly. I couldn't agree more if I tried. I loved the simplicity of it, how every tiny little detail on screen was clearly visible. Scorsese does not try to wow the audience, the train crash sequence does not fly out at your face (thank goodness), the 3-D is used for one single purpose and that is all; to enhance the visuals, and boy does it work.
We all know Scorsese is a master at directing actors, granted he always seems to have an all star cast, but still. To no surprise, he succeeds again. Asa Butterfield was unbelievable, especially as the film progressed and he settled into the role. By the end, and once you see the film you will understand, Butterfield is giving one of the most heartfelt performances I have ever seen. Ben Kingsley is a star, you can't work for his kind of talent, it is natural born and that's all there is to it. Chloe Grace Moretz, playing Hugo's dear friend, was an absolute delight. I could not have asked for a better cast if a tried. Everyone in the film, and I almost feel bad not mentioning their names, gave forth valiant efforts, all the more contributing to the success of Hugo.
Final Word: A few weeks ago I started up a debate on who is better, Martin Scorsese or Stanley Kubrick. I myself did not have much to say, but I ultimately took Kubrick's side (peer pressure). After that day, I have done serious research on Scorsese, and now I know I was very wrong, Scorsese is arguably the finest film maker in history. Hugo only further proves this incredible man's legendary status as a director; it is very well written by John Logan, with perhaps the most beautiful ending in any film I have been given the chance to see.