Leave the cannoli, take the movies

Review Blog


Posted by Jonathan Leithold-Patt on November 28, 2011 at 9:25 PM

HUGO   ***

Martin Scorsese


IDEA:  A young orphan, maintaining the many intricate clocks within the walls of a train station in 1930s Paris, embarks on a journey through the annals of film history.

BLURB:   There’s something magnificent about watching footage from some of the oldest movies of all time, blown up on a huge screen with glistening richness in front of a modern audience – and in 3D, no less. That is what happens in Martin Scorsese’s passionate, lovingly imaginative ode to cinema Hugo, an adventure film that crosscuts (sometimes awkwardly) the travails of an orphan boy living in a massive 1930s Parisian train station with the discovery and eventual rejuvenation of the works of legendary film pioneer Georges Méliès. The narrative here is admittedly clunky, a strangely paced fits-and-starts middle section particularly off, but visually and thematically the movie sings. Scorsese’s reverence for everything film pulses through every frame, his messages about movie magic, preservation, and reinvention an inspiring parallel to Hugo’s own search for purpose. Recreations of iconic scenes from some early classics are cleverly employed, and with gorgeous, almost literally breathtaking 3D, enchanting compositions acquire an even more striking depth, ticking clockwork and swinging pendulums so tactile you can practically feel their cold metal. This is a movie that believes in the power of real magic, and it does a good job of conjuring some itself.

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