Thursday, February 02, 2012
The Other Half really wanted to see Hugo and I was amenable, so we saw it in 3-D at the Arclight Cinemas in Pasadena. All I knew about the movie going in was that it was directed by Martin Scorsese.
Last week Hugo became the most Oscar-nominated film of 2011 with 11 nominations (Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Art Direction, Costume Design, Original Score, Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects). It joins 21 other films which have received exactly 11 nominations (there are 25 films which have received more than 11 nominations). Only The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King won all 11 Oscars for which it is nominated and Hugo is unlikely to win that many since it received exactly zero nominations in the acting categories (but it is one of only 3 films to ever get nominations in all 7 of the technical categories).
The film stars Oscar winner Ben Kingsley as Georges Méliès, Asa Butterfield as Hugo Cabret and Chloë Grace Moretz as Isabelle. Hugo is a young boy who lives in a Paris train station, maintaining the clocks. Sacha Baron Cohen plays the Station Inspector, who patrols the station with his large, vicious-looking dog, looking for rule-breakers. The screenplay was adapted by John Logan from the best-selling children's novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, written by Brian Selznick.
The audience is first introduced to Hugo living alone in the station, surviving by stealing food and living on his own in the roof of the station. Hugo and his father (played by Jude Law) had an amazing automaton (mechanical man) which is now broken. Hugo is desperately trying to find a heart-shaped key which will possibly allow the automaton to run again. He runs into Isabelle, who is the niece of Kingsley's character. A bitter old man who runs a toy store in the station who catches Hugo trying to steal something and punishes him by confiscating a notebook containing Hugo's father's sketches. Hugo entreats Isabelle to help him get the notebook back and they become partners in crime and go on adventures together.
The movie is in 3-D and Scorsese provides a captivating look and feel to the film which makes excellent use of the technology. The acting and impact of the story are not as effective. I don't want to reveal too much of the plot but although the movie is a feast for the eyes there were several moments where the interactions and motivations of the characters just rang strangely false.
That being said, the movie is worth seeing, but despite all its acclaim from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, I don't think Hugo is one of the Top 9 achievements in film for 2011.
Director: Martin Scorsese.
Running Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some violent images and brief nudity.
Release Date: November 23, 2011.
Viewing Date: January 14, 2012.
Overall Grade: B/B+ (3.25/4.0).