Hugo (2011) English Film Review- Martin Scorsese's first family film in 3D


When Martin Scorsese won the academy awards for ‘the Departed’, a crime thriller, I was overwhelmed. It was a fantastic film. A couple of years later, he once again teamed up with Leo for ‘Shutter Island’ a psychological thriller and that too was the highest grossing film of the year. This year it’s Hugo. Based on the novel ‘The invention of Hugo Cabret’ by Brian Selznick, ‘Hugo’ is a touchy tale of a child and his dream of invention. John Logan’s screenplay and the current craze of using 3D technology have created this ok film for people of all ages. And most importantly it is Martin Scorsese’s first film for the family, which means he can be called a ‘debutante’ for this category of films?

HUGO (English, 2011) Trailer

Hugo is full of great actors in different roles (Sacha Baron Cohen as a railway inspector, Emily Mortimer as the florist, Christopher Lee as a friendly bookseller, and a pair of uncertain lovers, Richard Griffiths and Frances de la Tour). So even if you don’t enjoy the film, enjoy watching the actors. If you have watched ‘The Boy in the striped Pyjamas’ you would know Asa Butterfield who plays the title role of Hugo and is also the protagonist in the film.

The story is set sometimes during 1930s when Hugo is a child who lost his father (Jude Law) and has been living in a railway station near Paris with his uncle (Ray Winstone).  In order to live, Hugo steals and falls in trouble with Georges (Ben Kingsley) who is a stall owner in the railway station. George is actually a groundbreaking French filmmaker George Méliès who is in the bad phase of life. Hugo has a prized possession, a robotic figure that was left behind by his dad and Hugo needs a heart shaped key to unfold the mystery that lay within the man-machine. Will his friendship with Isabell (Chloë Moretz), help him to find the key?

Hugo may not be a great film for the kids to watch as it doesn’t really have anything for the kids. The films, or let’s say Martin Scorsese’s passion for early cinema is shown here. In fact the scenes that had clips from old silent films have been excellently showed on the big screen and fitted well in the story. Even with brilliant technology effects and the intention of making it an enjoyable family film, Hugo fails to impress its target audience. 

But there would be people who would enjoy the film just to watch its beautiful 3D effects and the old film charm but nothing more than that.


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