Based upon the novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, Hugo tells the story of an orphan living in the Paris train station, winding clocks and trying to fix an automaton that is the last item he has from his father.
Directed by Martin Scorsese, I found that I really didn’t enjoy this film. Is there anything glaringly wrong with it? No. Did I find it enjoyable? No. Honestly, I have been running this film in my head since I finished it yesterday, and I find that I am in no hurry to see it again. For me, this is one of the problems with Scorsese films; I can see the brilliant film making, but have a hard time enjoying his films on first viewing.
When Hugo is apprehended for stealing by a toy seller(Ben Kingsley) in the train station, he eventually comes to be friends with the toy sellers god daughter. The two of them eventually find out that the old toy seller is more than he appears.
While all of the performances are wonderful, including Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat), I found that I just couldn’t connect with any of the characters. I never really cared one way or the other and never felt any tension between them.
While the film does pick up a bit in the 2nd half, I found that I had a hard time getting there. As I was bored, I almost shut the film off. I muscled through it, and I feel that it was too long by at least 30 minutes. Running at 2 hours long, I feel that the story being told here did not require that amount of time. There was a lot of filler here.
I tend to have a love/hate affair with Martin Scorsese films. As I said, I can see a master at work in his films. I just have a hard time enjoying them. While I loved Goodfellas, I was not impressed with Casino. Actually, I disliked Casino quite a bit. While I loved The Departed and Shutter Island, I did not like Hugo. Yes, I liked Gangs of New York, since you wanted to know.
Since this is his first children’s film (and his first shot in 3D), I suppose I may not have been his target demographic. Unfortunately, this film is far too long winded for children to be properly entertained by it. Some of the ideas at play are also too dark for children. So, by all accounts, this is a Scorsese children’s film.
The video quality on the blu-ray was simply breathtaking. While I’m not sure if this was shot digitally, I would assume it was based on the quality of the picture on the disc. Stunning, gorgeous, and brilliant.
The sound was also well done. This is not a loud film, focusing more on quiet moments. The surround sound really plays up that fact. Dialogue is crisp and clear through the center channel.
This was a rental, so I cannot comment on the special features.
Overall, I found I wasn’t a fan of Hugo. While there was nothing in the movie that would turn someone off, and honestly the 2nd half of the film should have been right up my alley, I found I didn’t like the film. While I did enjoy the homage to early cinema that the film works toward, it just didn’t capture my imagination or entertain me.
Movie ** out of ****
*NOTE* I may give this film another chance in the future. I have found with Scorsese pictures that I tend to enjoy them more upon subsequent viewings. If and when I re-watch it and my opinion changes, I will publish another review or update this one.