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Wow. I'm glad I did. This film is not only very faithful to the book - but sets the book in motion - which is, of course, entirely appropriate.
The choice of actors is perfect. The sets are fantastical and quite entirely beautiful. The photography is stunning. Martin Scorcese has outdone himself here.
This film picks up quite a pace and keeps you on the edge of your seat from then on. But it has a very worthwhile message, too.
Just to give you a sense of my context, I have a few film favourites that have been made (primarily) for children:
Into the West, with: Gabriel Byrne, Ellen Barkin, Ciarán Fitzgerald, Rúaidhrí Conroy, David Kelly
The Secret of Roan Inish, with: Jeni Courtney, Mick Lally, Eileen Colgan, Richard Sheridan, John Lynch, Susan Lynch, Cillian Byrne
The Three Lives of Thomasina, with: Patrick McGoohan, Susan Hampshire, Karen Dotrice, Matthew Garber, and the voice of Elspeth March as Thomasina the cat.
Hugo is now on my list.
The story takes place,I would guess,in the late 20s.Hugo is a young boy living with his father,who works in a museum.Hugo has become a tinkerer of sorts,like his father,and both work together on repairing and bringing back to life an automaton Hugo's father claimed from the museum's basement.One night his father is fatally caught in a conflagration at the museum and Hugo is forced to go and live with his inebriated uncle.The uncle tends the clock works at the Gare Montparnasse,the central train station in Paris.And when his uncle is away,which is quite often,it is left up to Hugo to pick up the slack.Eventually his uncle is found dead,and he is left an orphan.
When Hugo has down time he works away at the automaton.He regularly scrounges parts from an old man who runs a small toy store in the train station.One day the man catches the boy and Hugo is forced to empty his pockets.Among the items the man confiscates is Hugo's diary which his father kept while working on the automaton.That night Hugo follows the man home and speaks to his young god-daughter,who promises to keep her father from burning the book and to help him get it back.Read more ›
Any way the basic story is of a child that loses his father and thinks that his father left him a message that will change his life. In the process of perusing the message he meets Georges Méliès who may just have a message to change the reader's life.
The book incorporated a lot of pictures to help tell the story. This is innovative and holds your attention. However it did not translate well into the film as the film was slow and dragged a lot in scenes and even dialog. They lost the continuity and purpose of the story by incorporating the station inspector story that was a minor part of the book. It was too slapstick. What was great graphics in the book translated in almost cartoonish graphics in the film. However they did an excellent presentation of how the original films were designed to show us the stuff that dreams were made of.
The flat screen version was well enough. The 3D graphics were sort of gimmicky sort of looking through a stereoscope; however they were several fields deep.
So we have some unnecessary story added and some slow dragging parts but in the end the feel of the original book shines through.
When you think of Martin Scorsese, what comes to mind? My favorite Scorsese films are The Departed, Taxi Driver, Shutter Island, Gangs of New York and Goodfellas, but it would be easy to make the argument for Casino or Raging Bull to be on that list. Many of his films have moments of intense violence, but all of them illustrate how good he is at character studies. Hugo is a family film with no violence, but its characters are strong and I came away feeling like I knew the people being portrayed.
The opening scene sweeps us through a train station in 1930s Paris. We learn that Hugo (Asa Butterfield) hides away in a giant clock tower and winds the clock. In fact, he's a genius when it comes to repairing machinery of all types. We see his father die in a flashback sequence and understand why Hugo is striving to repair a rusty old automaton that he worked on with his father. He has to stay hidden or risk being sent to the orphanage, so finding food and drink means he has to steal in order to survive. But there's never a sense that he's a criminal.
Hugo gets caught trying to steal cogs from a local toymaker (Ben Kingsley), but finds a friend when he meets Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moretz); the toymaker's granddaughter. The two spend a lot of time together. Her grandfather forbids her from seeing films, but Hugo sneaks her in to see a Buster Keaton movie at the local cinema.
The images of Paris as seen from the high clock tower are breathtaking.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I really enjoyed this movie, the scenery the effects, the characters and the story combine to make it very enjoyable entertainment.Published 12 days ago by john L. stephenson
Reçu le 22 août 2016 et en parfaite condition. Merci beaucoup.Published 2 months ago by getan dufour
Saw this when it first came out and hated it. Have now read the book and re-watched it, and loved it.Published 2 months ago by Rebecca
I bought this for my grandson so we could watch it together, I really enjoyed it.Published 2 months ago by Carol Larson
I found the pictures quality in 2D to be excellent. 3D picture was also good but quite a bit of ghosting. I don't know if it was the disk or my Sony player or my Epson projector ? Read morePublished 3 months ago by Claude Desaulniers