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Hugo

by

Jeff Nelson

Hugo isn't for everybody, but surely deserves appreciation as its one of the best films of the year.

Hugo
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Martin Scorsese is a name that is very much respected in the film industry. A lot of buzz surrounds each of his movies, eve before there are any critic or user reviews. While his movies aren't for everybody, they sure offer something different than most moviegoers are used to in modern cinema. Most modern films appeal to being visually entertaining, but don't have very much of a story to back it up. Many moviegoers prefer to be spoon-fed all of the twists and turns so that they don't have to do much thinking. The filmmakers that encourage the audience to think get feedback from mainstream audiences that it's 'boring' simply because the film requires them to actually use the brain. Martin Scorsese has done it yet again with his film Hugo.

Set in 1930s Paris, an orphan who lives in the walls of a train station is wrapped up in a mystery involving his late father and an automaton. Some viewers have been originally been a bit misled by the trailer. They were expecting simply a story about an orphan who is left with an automaton and goes on adventures in order to fix it and unlock the mystery. However, Hugo is so much more. The film has quite a few sub-plots that occur with characters such as the Station Inspector and a couple others in the train station. Behind the screenplay is a great amount of emotional depth. Writer John Logan and Director Martin Scorsese create a set of characters that the audience can't help but feel attached to and actually care what happens to them. The writing is top notch as the dialogue is exceptional. My only complaint is that the film could have been cut down a little bit within a couple scenes, otherwise this is marvelous filmmaking that actually makes its viewers utilize his or her mind.

Whether or not one enjoys a Martin Scorsese films, his talent is undeniable. He's one of the most brilliant filmmakers in the industry. He's able to masterfully use his cast to create a true piece of art. Hugo is absolutely no exception. Asa Butterfield performs as Hugo. Not only does he fit the character, but he truly draws sympathy towards his role and makes Hugo believable as a character. Chloë Grace Moretz plays Isabelle. From the moment I saw her in previous films, I had a strong feeling that she would make it big someday. Well, she has become an even better actress, especially under Scorsese's direction. She's just as believable as Hugo and has created an admirable amount of depth in Isabelle.Ben Kingsley is Georges Méliés. He delivers an outstanding performance, which isn't very much of a surprise coming from him. However, what is a surprise is the casting choice for the Station Inspector. Sacha Baron Cohen took on this role, yes he has performed as Borat and Brüno in the past. It's interesting to see him taken out of those type of roles and placed in a film such as Hugo. He certainly manages to take complete control of the character and shines. This is a very capable cast to begin with, although Martin Scorsese's great direction simply aided the actors to be even better.

Ladies and gentlemen, it has happened. Hugo is Martin Scorsese's first film to be shot in 3D. Fortunately, it was actually captured with a native 3D camera and wasn't post-converted. I was hesitant to see the movie in the 3D format as I have never been a fan. However, I'm very glad that I bit the bullet and paid the higher ticket price. I have yet to view a film that has utilized the new technology better than Scorsese. He has truly created a world that utterly immerses the audience. Those expecting a lot of objects flying out towards the screen are sure to be disappointed. That is a very gimmicky route of delivering 3D. Instead, Hugo contains an incredible amount of depth, so much in fact that it would make James Cameron jealous. The audio is just as impressive. My mind never wandered from the world that Martin Scorsese placed me in with Hugo.

As the film continues, it tells quite a bit about the beginning of film. While some may view this as a negative aspect, I thought it connected to the character, the story, and the ending of the film. There's a certain mystery that audiences will continue to think about, which is what the automaton will write as it's reanimated. Once this secret is revealed, the story goes in a bit of a different direction. The important thing to understand is that this isn't mindless entertainment. Martin Scorsese has created a film that has emotional depth, requiring its audiences to actually think. It's nice to have mainstream films actually be intellectual. Hugo isn't for everybody, but surely deserves appreciation as its one of the best films of the year.

My Rating = Four and One Half Stars

Next movie: Fright Night (2011)
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