Hugo is Martin Scorsese’s first foray into 3D and a children’s movie. I’m a huge fan of Scorsese (what cinephile isn’t?) and I was curious to see what a family friendly movie would look like coming from him. The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive: 94% with an 8.3/10 average rating from RottenTomatoes and 83/100 on Metacritic. The film is already garnering a ton of awards and has a lot of Oscar buzz around it. Could this movie possibly live up to the hype?
My concise answer is yes, and this is one of the most enjoyable films I’ve seen all year. I do have to stress that even though this is a family friendly film, I’m not so sure how kid friendly this movie is in the sense that I think kids would probably be bored during this movie. It’s over 2 hours long and the movie doesn’t cater to kids at all with the story or humor. I would recommend that everyone see this film, but if you have a particular fascination with film then you will get even more out of Hugo.
Hugo is a movie that is made for film lovers, period. If you have an appreciation for the history and craft of movies, this movie will definitely pull at the heart strings. Those of us who have fond memories of movies and what they can do for us will undoubtedly enjoy this film.
The 3D in this film is probably among the best films I’ve ever seen in 3D (up there with Avatar, How to Train Your Dragon, and The Adventures of Tintin). It’s Martin Scorsese so you expect greatness, but he still manages to unquestionably deliver. The way he uses 3D is something we haven’t seen before and is quite different from James Cameron’s use of it in Avatar or Steven Spielberg with Tintin.
I found the story to be quite powerful and emotionally resonant. The film ponders big questions like what our purpose in life is and accepting your past instead of hiding from it. I don’t really want to get too much into the story because it isn’t even hinted at in the trailer and I think that if you go in fresh without expectations, you will be even more pleasantly surprised.
I will say that there is this one bit where Chloe Moretz says “You don’t like books!?” And I just have to say that I can’t wait until someone makes a GIF of that line of dialogue because I just felt that that line represents me so much and my general thoughts on the lack of reading in our generation.
The one knock that I have against the film is that it feels like it takes a bit too long to set up the story and while I was never bored during this film it did seem to lack a “hook” at the start. Also, for a “family film,” I would say that this movie would definitely put most kids to sleep. That’s not a huge knock against the film because the end product is fantastic, but do not see this movie if you are looking for an enjoyable time at the theater where you can turn your brain off. This movie constantly engages you on a visual and narrative level.
Hugo is cinematic marvel that anyone with an appreciation for film should love. Martin Scorsese’s use of 3D is wonderful, the story is unique, and the themes are quite deep as well. Definitely make sure you see this over the holidays!