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Submitted by MBergeron on November 28, 2024 – 4:51 pmNo Comment

When one searches on the word Hugo you’re likely to end up with Hugo Chavez or Victor Hugo. The Hugo I’m talking about is the new film from Martin Scorsese and it’s a keeper. Detractors who think that Marty has gotten gooey in his old age by making a family film should consider that almost every film he’s made revolves around the concept of family, although in the case of Hugo the idea is a for a film that allows access to those of all ages, as opposed to say a film about the mob.

Above and beyond the storyline of a young orphaned lad who lives in the Paris railway station and maintains all the clocks, Hugo is one of the tightest 3D films yet to roll out the Hollywood assembly line. You can see the money that this film cost exuding in every frame. I saw Hugo 3D at the Regal Edwards Grand Palace in their RPX house and the brightness and sharpness were unparalleled. The picture depth was evident in every scene. Hugo 3D was shot using 3D cameras, a first for Scorsese and his noted cinematographer Robert Richardson.

But besides being a technical exercise Scorsese has subverted what the average bear would expect in a kid friendly film. The story while simple enough never allows the supporting players (like Sacha Baron Cohen, Christopher Lee, Emily Mortimer, Ray Winstone, a couple of others) anything resembling an arc but rather places them in cute situations that practically border on being tributes to the characters in Amelie. The main story concerns the efforts of Hugo (Asa Butterfield) to figure out how to activate a mechanical man made by a mysterious toy vendor (Sir Ben Kingley) who turns out to be pioneer filmmaker George Melies. Chloe Grace Moretz plays Georges’ ward.

Hugo, set in the 1930s, takes off rapidly in the last hour by changing the direction of the film from the kid’s story to a history of film. Consider that cinema from 1895 through 1905 was called the Cinema of Attractions, followed by a nine year period known as Primitive Cinema, and everything from 1914 on could kindly be called Classical Cinema. Scorsese gets it; let’s hope the typical film-goer also can grasp the heaviosity behind Hugo.

- Michael Bergeron

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