Films | Movie Reviews | FILM – Hugo

FILM – Hugo

Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on May 4, 2012 | No Comments

PRODUCER – Johnny Depp, Tim Headington, Graham King, Martin Scorsese
DIRECTOR – Martin Scorsese
WRITER – John Logan (screenplay), Brian Selznick (book)
CAST – Ben Kingsley, Asa Butterfield, Chloe Moretz
MUSIC – Howard Shore

The magic of movies is perhaps best understood by lovers, those who immerse in their dreams coming alive and the ones who passionately create those dreams. In an epic tribute to this cinephilia, master story-teller and legendary film-maker Martin Scorsese brings us Hugo, a story
of a little boy given to ‘fixing things’ trying to find a hidden message from his dead father in a broken down automaton against the background of George Melies, pioneer of special effects film-making in cinema’s earliest period.

Adapted from Brian Selznick’s novel ‘The invention of Hugo Cabret’, Scorsese brings all his love for story-telling, cinema and visual arts to a gigantic canvas in 3D. He begins by taking us gently by hand into a dreamworld, a top-shot of twinkling Paris lit by night. He brings us into
reality by then immersing us into the chaos of the station where the orphaned Hugo lives and repairs clocks. The mayhem, the activity and the pedestrian reality of Hugo’s life is conveyed to us along with period romance of colour, costume and custom with an ecstatic camera and
tender music. Hugo (Asa Butterfield with the vulnerability of Mickey Rooney), right in the beginning, right amidst this mayhem is caught by Papa George (Ben Kingsley) for stealing and his book that had his father’s drawings for the automaton, is intercepted. From there begins
Hugo’s struggle to retrieve his dream and the journey that would bring Papa George’s back. For Papa George is none other than George Melies, now forgotten and withering in obscurity.

With Isabelle (Chloe Moretz, the Kick-Ass girl with the innocence of Judy Garland), Papa George’s goddaughter, Hugo sets out on an adventure where they watch movies, read books and try to find answers to adult problems in their child world. He however, needs to be constantly on guard against the police Inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen) who thinks he is a nuisance. In this quest Hugo discovers Papa George’s glorious past and the significance of having a purpose in life. But the film, at once speaking of dreams and visually dream-like, does not fly on the wings of feel-good, something that we can hardly expect Scorsese to indulge in anyway. It touches on very adult themes of loss, passion, purpose and the significance of it all.

True to itself then, it invests incredible emotional honesty yet innocence of age in its central child protagonists, Hugo and Isabelle.
The true tribute to cinema does not come from the resurrection of Melies’ importance to film or the delightful exhibition of his films and process, both real footage and re-created, alone. It comes from the visual splendour Hugo expands on the screen, becoming the first film that truly
uses 3D’s potential to strike awe and wonder. The abyss-like depth of scenes, the startling colour and consuming 3D is nowhere gimmicky or contrived. It smoothly embodies Melies’ and scores of passion-driven film-makers’ life story, of re-creating magic and one’s dreams.
In his review, Richard Corliss of Time called the film “Scorsese’s love poem, rendered gorgeously in 3-D”. Love poem it is and speaks right to the hearts of the billion others who share that love for cinema with the same intensity. After, all that is the power of dreams and dream-making.


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