Hugo (2011)

Greg Says: Never was there a more beautiful movie

Title: Hugo (2011)
Rating: 10/10
Date: 2 December 2011
Recommendation: See it in theaters and in 3D
Helpful: 4 out of 9 found this helpful.

Hugo (Asa Butterfield, “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas”) is an orphan living in a Paris railway station in 1938. His father was a museum curator and watchmaker. Before his death, Hugo’s father had found an automaton (mechanical man) which he and Hugo were attempting to fix.

By night, Hugo keeps the clocks in the railway station running. Hugo steals parts from a toymaker (Ben Kingsley) who catches on to Hugo and mentors him. The toymaker is godfather to young orphan Isabelle (ChloĆ« Grace Moretz, “Kick-Ass”) who befriends Hugo and insists on seeing his home. Hugo agrees and shows her the automaton and together they get it to work. The first thing it draws is a picture from a movie that Hugo used to watch with his father. And we’re off. . .

This is without a doubt the most beautiful movie I have ever seen. Every detail of this film has been made with the utmost care and love. Even the snowflakes are amazing. I saw it in 3D and it is the first 3D movie I have seen that uses 3D artistically, not as a gimmick. There are scenes where the camera runs us through a crowd, and we feel as if we are there, brushing past bystanders. The sets look and sound real. The clockworks within the tower clock and automaton are as real as any wind up clock you know. If director Martin Scorsese had intended to create a masterpiece, then he has succeeded.

The children (Butterfield, Moretz) are heartbreakingly beautiful. They give performances that exude the innocence of youth and a constant sense of urgency. Butterfield in particular plays Hugo as a tortured youngster with a passion for fixing things. In Hollywood movies it is so easy to play young people as wise beyond their years and / or smart- alecky. Instead, these children are three-dimensional with purpose and wonder.

It turns out that this film is not so much the story of an orphan boy, but a wonderful homage to one of film’s great pioneers. We get a retrospective of the early days of film and a film history lesson without even knowing it. Scorsese takes up the gauntlet of film innovators who came before and makes his mark in film history by crafting a 3-D movie others will aspire to match. This is clearly an Academy Award winner and instant classic.

So for wonderful acting, amazing effects, beautiful set design, creative storytelling, and a loving tribute to a historical film legend, you must “see it in the theater.”