Wednesday, August 23, 2017

1037. Hugo

Directed by Martin Scorsese

At first I found it hard to believe that this was a Scorsese film.  This is the man that brought us Taxi Driver, and now he is making whimsical Grand Budapest Hotel-esque films.  Of course, as the film progressed, it became clear that this is the tribute to early cinema that Scorsese always wanted to make.

In 1931, eight year old Hugo lives a train station in Paris.  Everyone speaks English for some reason, but they do it in British accents, so we Americans buy it.   Anyway, Hugo spends his days fixing clocks, dodging the Station Inspector (who delights in putting kids in cages and sending them to orphanages, you know, because of the war), and attempting to repair a broken automaton that his father had owned.  Hugo meets Isabelle, the goddaughter of Georges, the bitter toymaker at the station.  Isabelle and Hugo set out to solve the mystery of the automaton.

Would I have been interested in this if I wasn't a film buff?  You have to imagine that was the intention of Scorsese: to introduce young people who know nothing about movies to the magic of early cinema.  Still, I can't help feeling like I would have found the two hour run time unbearable if I didn't have an interest in Georges Melies.

Fortunately, I do and thus wanted to see how this played out.  I am not a huge CGI fan, but I have to admit this looked pretty good and contributed to the overall feeling of whimsy.  I do wish Jude Law had been in it more.  I so admire that man's....talent.

Anyway, this was decent, but my incurable bloodlust makes me crave gangster Scorsese more.

RATING: ***--

Interesting Facts:

The opening tracking shot of the city took 1000 computers to render each frame.

James Cameron called it the best use of 3D he had ever seen (including in his own movies).


  1. When I saw this in the cinema I felt that this movie was made for me. I recognized practiaclly all the old clips and when we realize that the man selling toys is actually Melies (ups, spoiler) I may have shed a tear or two. The rest was okay, good enough for the purpose.
    Anecdote: The automaton is part of the travelling Scorsese exhibition. I visited it in Melbourne last year and it is quite impressive. If you get the chance you must see it.

  2. - TS, So the automaton is 'real'? Thanks for telling me that.

    1. It is indeed. But rather small. The android from Metropolis is much larger.

  3. "Good enough for its purpose"-yeah that just about covers it. Expected the android to be big too, so that's interesting.