Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Movie Review: Hugo

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When I had first heard of Hugo, last summer, I believe, I wrote it down because I loved the idea of a quirky kids' movie that takes place in Paris. When I found out it was directed by Martin Scorcese, I was a little surprised. This is quite the veer from his usual graphic and violent movies like Goodfellas. I did not know this before I saw the movie, but have since learned it was based on the book "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" by Brian Selznick, which I've never read. This book has won the Caldecott Medal, which is one of the most prestigious awards given in children's literature.

This film is about a boy, Hugo, who is an orphan living in a train station's clock tower. He winds the clocks like his uncle, who also passes away, taught him and he is always running away from the Station Inspector, who provides comic relief throughout the film. He meets a young girl named Isabelle and they embark on an adventure to solve Isabelle's failing godfather's life problems while rescuing and fixing an old magician's automaton that Hugo and his father were bringing back to life before he died in a fire. It's quite the interesting plot line, but...go with it.

As Hugo tries helping others, his own loneliness drives him towards the vulnerability to face the fact that he wants to be a part of someone's family. This is a very sweet film that is really for older children. I don't know that a child under the age of...nine might understand it. I wouldn't have shown this to my own kids as they would have been confused by the plot and frightened at times. Stefan and I both enjoyed this movie, though he didn't start to understand it until about an hour in. It's very visually interesting and I loved watching the little boy's mechanical nature tool away on everything he fixes. This boy was very smart and all the characters are quite endearing to the audience.

Another aspect I liked of this movie was the 'prettiness' of it. There is a lot to do with old films, dreams, and magic and it is well played with a bit of old Parisienne aesthetic thrown in. The story has a sweet ending, and I enjoyed it, though I do think I had hyped it up more in my mind that I should have. I'm glad I didn't see it in 3D, though, which in my opinion, often ruins a perfectly good movie (and costs an arm and a leg). I give this movie 4 stars out of 5 for acting, intrigue, music (excellent) and that Old Europe feel I love to watch.
***
Have you seen it? What did you think?

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