Legendary prolific director Martin Scorsese brings us his latest work since 2010’s Shutter Island. Hugo is based on the novel ‘The Invention of Hugo Cabret‘ by Brian Selznick. Hugo is Scorsese’s first film to be shot in 3D, and his first family film.
Hugo (Asa Butterfield) is a young boy who lives with his father (Jude Law) who is a master clockmaker in Paris, but when Hugo’s father dies, he his taken away by his uncle, who is an alcoholic watchmaker. Fixing Clocks must run in the family…. Hugo’s uncle maintains clocks in the railway station, so he teaches Hugo how to look after the clocks, and then mysteriously disappears.
When Hugo’s father died, he left something behind called an Automaton, a robot like figure which when wound up will write a message. The Automaton however is broken, and Hugo seeks out to find and steal parts to fix the Automaton so he can know what the Automaton will write. He also wishes to fix the Automaton because he believes the message will be from his father. Hugo obtains all the pieces he needs and winds the figure up, but it doesn’t work, it’s still missing one thing, a heart-shaped key.
Whilst he was running around trying to find missing pieces, he meets Isabelle (Chloe Moretz), who coincidentally just so happens to have a necklace with a heart-shaped key. So he takes her to the Automaton and she places her key into the back and they wind it up. At first, the Automatons writing just looks like incoherent scribbles, but after a short break it resumes and ends up creating an elaborate picture.
Hugo recognises the picture, it resembles of one of the films Hugo’s father once described to him, directed by a man called Georges Méliès (a real life French filmmaker and Illusionist). Georges Méliès (Ben Kingsley) is Isabelle’s godfather, so they go to the house to show Mama Jeanne (Helen McCrory) and Georges Méliès the picture they have. Georges who had neglected his passion when the war broke out, is disillusioned. He reconnects with his work, his past and with a new generation of cinema enthusiasts who admire his work.
For a film that has received wide critical acclaim from a legendary director, I had high expectations, but I was really disappointed. Admittedly I didn’t watch it in 3D, which probably would have made a bit of difference, but I doubt it would have added that much to the experience. The acting was over the top, look forced and unnatural. The production and direction however was brilliant, and the set design was stunning. The soundtrack also took me by surprise too. Generally though, I just found it an elongated boring film with a mildly interesting storyline.