Looks like these two Gelflings got the once over by some Skeksis.

Theatrical Release Date: 11/23/2011
Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Helen McCrory, Sacha Baron Cohen, Christopher Lee, Michael Stuhlbarg, Frances de la Tour, Richard Griffiths, Emily Mortimer, Jude Law
Rated: PG for mild thematic material, some action/peril and smoking.
Runtime: 2 hours, 7 minutes


So can I get a train to somewhere else?

Look, while Martin Scorsese has earned himself better than this, my review of “Hugo” isn’t going to be very comprehensive.

First off, the story of an orphaned boy (Asa Butterfield) living in a Parisian train station keeping the clocks running and repairing a robotic boy to see what message it may have left him is sweet and all, but something one reads in a book about 25 pages long with lots of pictures. Sure, there are cliché interesting characters around him, and the connection between Ben Kingsley’s character and the forefathers of cinema is interesting (for film buffs) but the bottom line to making a family film interesting for roughly two hours is that the lead kid had better be spectacular.

Spoiler Alert, he’s not.

Now before anyone gets their knickers in a twist, I’m not placing the blame all at Butterfield’s feet. It’s keenly apparent that Scorsese spent far more time figuring out which old film clips to use and making sure the 3D would be spectacular (we’ll get to that) than making sure his central character emoted in all the right ways. And for a film so concerned with showing the audience the wonder of early movies, it’s too bad all the creativity they showed didn’t infect the rest of “Hugo”.

The pacing of the film overall is rather slow. Consistent … but slow. It almost felt like Scorsese and screenwriter John Logan were trying to pad time because it wasn’t long enough … maybe their own clock was in need of fixing.

Now as for the much hyped 3D, which even James “I make big movies so no one worries about the small details” Cameron has stated is the best he’s ever seen – it’s actually pretty good. Some may find themselves a bit queasy from certain sequences and there are a number of scenes which flitter between 2D and 3D but if you’re the type of person who just loves Hollywood’s latest cash grab, and you’re eager to see the film, then by all means plunk down the extra cash to wear those fashionable and recyclable shades.

Back to the film, it isn’t that there’s too much wrong with it. From a technical standpoint, Scorsese and his team have always known how to shoot a movie; it’s just too bad the story felt like an afterthought at times to the emphasis on old movies. Upon exiting the theater, I was almost surprised no one had given me a certificate congratulating everyone in the audience for taking a 1-day film class.

So for those who love, love, love old movies, “Hugo” will tickle that fancy. However, it will also make you wonder why you didn’t just re-watch some of those classics than sit through a movie that borrows its soul from them. A 3 out of 5, the 3D is probably the most interesting aspect but I’m not sure it’s enough to entice anyone on the fence into an otherwise staid production.

3 out of 53D Yes