“Hugo”: Surprisingly Enchanting


I first saw the trailer for “Hugo” with the rest of the Harry Potter fandom as we waited for the midnight premiere of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”. I can tell you right now we were not amused nor enthralled by the boy, Hugo Cabret for obvious reasons. 1) It was a really long trailer 2) We didn’t really care. We needed to see Harry.

I felt the same when “Hugo” came out during Thanksgiving. I still did not go see it. I just wasn’t feeling it. The trailer told little about the story. Hugo, a boy lives in a Paris train station and clocks are involved. There is also a machine boy. That’s about all I knew. Side notes: It was based off “The Invention of Hugo Cabret”, a graphic novel by Brian Selznick. It was also directed by Martin Scorsese who did not receive a director’s nomination. I still don’t understand this.  How did a film such as “Hugo” become what it was without Scorsese behind the lens?

I was happy however that my feelings changed. A theater brought it back after the Oscar nominations and the theater was packed. I dragged myself out of curiosity to see why critics loved this movie. In the end, I could see why. I could also see why the trailers were very vague.

The story is so much more than a boy living in a train station. It actually reminds me very much of another Oscar nominated film for Best Picture, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”. They both tell a story about a boy, looking for a secret message from their deceased father (Jude Law in this film), but find something more. Both also involve a key, though in this story, it is a heart shaped key.

I will not divulge in what the secret was. It really makes the film. Honestly, you’re are dying to find out what it is and then how it evolves through the film. Sure, I guess you could say I’m a bad reviewer, but I don’t care. I won’t tell you.

Scorsese did a wonderful a job incorporating the train station into a  wonderful setting through the clock mechanisms, but also in the station itself with all the shop owners.  Casting includes Sacha Baron Cohen who plays the Inspector with his trusty doberman pinscher. They are  bent on trying to capture all the orphans in the train station even with a limp the Inspector received from the Great War. Ben Kingsley who plays Papa Georges and Hugo Cabret is played by Asa Butterfield.  I also enjoyed Rene Tabard, but that’s probably just reminds me of my old film professor.

Ben Kingsley is part of the secret that I won’t spoil. At first in the film, he is a miserable, mean shopkeeper, but as the movie progresses you learn more of his past. You feel for him.

Howard Shore, the composer of the film adds a great element to the film with his Parisian music. Music always makes the movies and his score definitely stood out for me.

I can see why Scorsese picked this film, partially for his daughter who wanted a film made for her and her friends. The other reason I can see is the influence of the film industry beginnings which Scorsese is such a big part of. He and his fellow filmmakers are trying to save to film from the early 1900’s that is severely being damaged to its lack of preservation.

The film regrettably was in 3D which I don’t think was necessary. Nothing popped out at you like in most cheesy 3D movies which I think we were all grateful for.  The 3D effect was used to add to the environment, but I think 3D or 2D, the film still would have had the same message that I fell in love with.

Oscar Nominations:

  1. Best Picture
  2. Best Art Direction
  3. Best Cinematography
  4. Best Costume Design
  5. Best Directing: Martin Scorsese
  6. Best Film Editing
  7. Best Original Score: Howard Shore
  8. Best Sound Editing
  9. Best Sound Mixing
  10. Best Visual Effects
  11. Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
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