'Hugo'

By Matt Rooney

"Hugo" is the magical tale of a young orphan boy who lives in a Paris train station maintaining clocks. But what he's really doing is trying to rebuild a robot his father found in hopes of unlocking a secret message.

This was directed by the great Martin Scorsese ("Taxi Driver," "Raging Bull," "The Departed") and is his first kids' film. This is also his first 3D film, and like all masters, he handles it as he should—as a storytelling device. The film was visually dazzling, and you're absorbed into Paris and Hugo's world. Everything from the costumes to the lighting was created with the upmost care to the point of true believability.

The film also has uniquely in-depth performances by the whole cast, especially Oscar-worthy ones from Ben Kingsley and Chloe Moretz.

But one flaw I cannot get over. This is Scorsese's most personal and dear film, as it explores the magic and importance of film and how it can shape us as human beings. But I felt a lot of the focus was on that and the visuals and not enough on the actual story structure. I felt as if I were watching two movies in which one story should have fueled the climax but in the end led to it.

But no matter, as a movie fan, I couldn't help but be absorbed into the world of the early years of film. (Kudos to Scorsese's 3D.) The movie stayed and grew in my mind as the days went on. Scorsese truly has a passion for imagination and the wonder of film, and that's what being a director is all about. Despite the flaw, this is a sweet, innocent, visually brilliant piece of film that could easily cause a small child to fall in love with film, just as Scorsese did. (A)


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"Hugo" on IMDb