Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hugo 3D

Yesterday I saw Hugo, Martin Scorsese's extravagant 3D movie, based on the children's book by Brian Selznick, The Invention of Hugo Cabret. An orphaned boy lives in the walls of a Paris train station in the 1920s, maintaining the station's gear-filled clocks, pilfering casually & evading a not-quite-inept policeman played by Sacha Baron Cohen. Asa Butterfield plays Hugo & looks small & perptually haunted. I did not get into the Dickensian plot involving an automaton that draws & a toy-seller's hidden past, but I felt I got my money's worth of 3D effects. Every shot has layers of depth. Even a library reading room recedes a mile into the distance. It's actually kind of freaky when an actor's head fills the screen. It made me very aware of the way the plane of the side of the head goes back from the face. The opening sequence is an amazing, impossible roller coaster ride through the bustling train station & the labyrinthine clockwork interior where Hugo lives. It might be all you really need to see.

The movie is for a family audience, & the story elements are emblematic & tied together at the end of a full 2 hours. Scorsese clearly had fun recreating George Méliès's glass-enclosed film studio & its frolicsome atmosphere. I happened to see this on the anniversary of the Lumière brothers' 1st public exhibition of a projected movie, a snippet of which appears in the film.

§ Hugo (2011)
Director: Martin Scorsese
126 min, USA

2 comments:

sfmike said...

Mildly hated it. Hugo was played by a very uninteresting child actor, Sascha Cohen and Ben Kingsley and the little girl were all the wrong casting, and the sentimentality over Le Early Cinema was the most nauseating thing I've seen in that line since Truffaut's "Day for Night." And there you have the capsule review.

The only movies I've really enjoyed over the holiday season were a DVD of "The Rise of The Planet of the Apes" (why didn't anybody tell me that the ape escape climax on the Golden Gate Bridge was a new San Francisco film classic?) and "The Descendants," where the very depressing director Alexander Payne actually makes a somewhat hopeful film.

Axel Feldheim said...

I agree with your 2 sentence assessment, but I like seeing movies in 3D, & this one goes nuts with the technique. What bothered me most is that the creators want to impart information about the early history of cinema, but they give us a false story about a real historical figure.

The Artist is also a love letter to classic cinema, but it charmed me. I totally wanted to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes when it was in the theaters, but somehow I never got around to it.