Thursday, December 22, 2011

Movie Review: Hugo


Recently, I went to see Hugo in theatres. I was eagerly expecting this movie, as I had read and loved the book (The Invention of Hugo Caberet) a few years previously. A short disclaimer: I had never seen anything directed by Martin Scorsese, so I didn't know what to expect. Most children's books that have been converted to film are notably lackluster, so I wasn't prepared for anything spectacular.

This movie was an amazing adaptation of the book, and in itself, an amazing movie.

Let me sum up the story: A young orphan named Hugo lives behind the walls of the train station in Paris. It was his uncle Claude's job to wind the clocks, but after he disappears, Hugo keeps winding them, to avoid discovery. He spends his days peering out through the inlaid numbers of the clocks, watching the diverse people who work there: the teashop owner, the police inspector, the flower-seller... and a toyshop owner, who sells windup toys. Hugo thieves a few of these toys to supply gears he needs. He's trying to finish the automaton that his father was fixing when he died. But when he's caught with his hand on a toy, he uncovers old secrets that the old toy-seller would rather forget.

The acting was phenomenal. The actors for Hugo(Asa Butterfield) and Isabelle, the toy-seller's goddaughter(Chloe Grace Moretz) give a subtle, yet strong performance. Butterfield is slated to play Ender Wiggin in the upcoming movie Ender's Game, and from his performance in Hugo, I believe he will do an excellent job.  The camera angles were innovative, using framing techniques of cutout numbers to frame actors' eyes. As this movie was designed to be shot in 3D, rather than using the 3D as a gimmick, the feel of the film was quite different from other movies I've seen. The passages behind the walls that Hugo frequents are realistically grungy and aged, full of grease and pitted metal.

I can't say much without exposing spoilers, but we explore the story of classic silent film with Hugo, and watch clips from silent movies with him. I really enoyed this aspect of the movie.

One other thing: this movie is not full of flashy thrills, but instead uses character development and suspense to move the plot along, although, don't misunderstand, it does have many tense moments. I really enjoyed this way of telling a story, and so did the party I went to see the movie with(a group ranging in age from ten years old to seventy-two years old).

This is a gem of a movie. Don't miss it.


  1. Great review. I read the book last year and it was good and was wanting to see the movie.
    Oh, there is going to be an Ender's Game film? Yay!

  2. Thank you very much; glad you enjoyed it. Yes, Ender's Game has an Imdb page and a release date already- Hailee Steinfield is slated to play Petra. Asa Butterfield was also in a BBC television series a few years ago called Merlin, where he was a druid boy. Even then, he was a really good actor! I'm very glad they picked him for Ender.

  3. Oh, well I'm not a big fan of Hailee Steinfield but still looking forward to the movie.

  4. This hasn't come out in Australia yet, but I am so psyched to see it. The storyline seems to be right up my alley, and it's by Scorcese, too!