Hugo is two movies in one. How this works will be explained without giving anything important away. Director Martin Scorsese presents his first movie in 7 years not starring Leonardo DiCaprio. It is his first movie in 18 years that is rated PG, as usually his films are violent and bloody.
With Johnny Depp as one of the Producer’s Martin S. seems to be reverting to a more childlike and innocent film maker in which Jack Nicholson is not violently murdered or murdering; which usually follows one and then the other. If Jack were in Hugo all the main characters would have been assassinated in the first 30 minutes.
Hugo is the story of Hugo. Hugo, not to be confused with Yugo the car, is a young orphaned lad living in the main station of the Paris Metro system in 1930. His dad, played briefly in the film by Jude Law, was a master clock and watch maker. He has passed this skill onto his son. Through an unusual series of events Hugo ends up as the big clock winder and maintenance man for the station clocks. He lives and eats by his wits and what he can grab from the cafés operating in the building. He is ably acted on screen by Asa Butterfield from Nanny McPhee Returns (2010). Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat 2006) portrays the Station Inspector, who is the station’s sole law enforcement and out to nab orphans and lawbreakers. He is aided by his long-fanged Doberman. Other important cast members include Ben Kingsley as the owner/operator of the station toy shop. Veteran actor Christopher Lee (he turns 90 May of 2012) is the local book shop proprietor. Chloe Grace Moretz from Kick Ass (2010) plays a young girl who befriends Hugo.
For the first hour the film concerns Hugo. His angst at being orphaned. His loneliness. His constant life on the run from Sacha are shown over and over. The story doesn’t move at a lightning pace so they return to the same scenes to have something to show us. Minor romances and plot lines about the patrons and workers at the train station are introduced. Mystery is added when Hugo finds an automaton and tries to fix it. Look it up.
Then as the 2nd hour of the film unfolds the story becomes an homage to film-making and a movie-making pioneer of the beginning of the last century. He turns out to be one of the other characters in the film. If you want this to be any kind of a surprise do not read any info in which the names of the characters appear next to the names of the actors portraying them. This will give the entire 2nd half away.
Made in Paris, London and inside some very powerful computers, the film is gorgeous to behold. It looks terrific in every aspect from the costumes to the sets. Howard Shore provides a dead on score. I did not see this film in 3-D, being fed up with the process as it stands at this time. When James Cameron saw Hugo he proclaimed it was the best use of 3-D to date. Maybe I have made yet another blunder. While not fast-moving Hugo is an enjoyable outing especially for movie fans. Watch for Martin Scorsese and Johnny Depp in small cameo roles.
Rated 3.0 out of 4.0 Automaton’s. Did you look it up yet?