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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Review of film: “HUGO” by Martin Scorsese




2011, 12-03; posted on 12-21:


Review of film:  HUGOby Martin Scorsese


This 126-minute PG-rated movie was directed by MARTIN SCORSESE...

...  The time is the early 1900’s, & the place is PARIS, France...  We’re at a large train station with a clear view of the Eiffel Tower...


...  The station is very crowded with people commuting to & from town...


...  And there are a lot of CLOCKS inside the place...


...  Shortly, we see a 12-year-old boy named Hugo Cabret (ASA BUTTERFIELD) who’s secretly LIVING in the large tower of the station, among the GEARS of the huge clock there...


...  Asa keeps moving around to get a better view of an elderly man named Georges (BEN KINGSLEY) who has a small REPAIR shop in the station, where he fixes & sells mechanical items like watches, clocks & TOYS...


...  It seems that Asa is “CASING” the area, apparently planning on trying to STEAL something from Ben...  He surreptitiously starts moving towards Ben’s shop to try to further his planned theft...

...  All the while, the officious Station Inspector (SACHA BARON COHEN) is on the “LOOKOUT” for Asa & other scofflaws who keep pilfering items from people there...


...  Ben has noticed that Asa has taken things from him BEFORE-- & thus he’s “READY” for him when he sneaks up & tries to grab a mechanical “running” mouse toy... 

...  He not only STOPS him from taking the toy, he’s able to confiscate a BOOKLET Asa is carrying which contains numerous hand-made DRAWINGS of mechanical devices... 

...  The book for some reason seems to mean “everything” to Asa, & he tries FOLLOWING Ben home while “demanding” that he return it, which he REFUSES to do...


...  Ben’s granddaughter Isabelle (CHLOË GRACE MORETZ) tries to help Asa re the book, & he eventually agrees to WORK at Ben’s shop fixing things to build up “credit” to get the booklet back...


...  In time, we learn Asa’s now-dead father (JUDE LAW) had made most (if not all) of the drawings in the booklet, & they concerned an AUTOMATON robot-like device Jude had found...


...  The device ran on clock-like mechanisms, &  that he’d found & tried to RE-BUILD as Asa watched...


...  After Jude died, Asa had moved the automaton to the place of his uncle Claude (RAY WINSTONE) which was inside the train station as his job was winding & fixing the clocks...


...  The uncle was always getting drunk, & soon in-effect LEFT the place in ASA’s hands (unknown to Sacha or others there)...  And Asa was always seeking other mechanical parts to try to get the automaton WORKING again...

...  At one point, Asa trusts Chloë enough to bring her to his HOME in the innards of the station...


...  He invites her in part because he realizes she has a heart-shaped KEY that seemingly might fit INSIDE the automaton which possibly could serve to “start-up” the device...


...  He & Chloë in time work to try to IMPROVE the workings of his automaton...


...  In time, we learn some of the background about Ben--  how his last name was MÉLIÈS & he’d been a MAGICIAN, working with a female assistant (who’s now his wife) in his act... 


...  He’d then tried his hand at making MOVIES, being one of the first to use SPECIAL-EFFECTS based on some of his magic routines...


...  In 1902, he created the world’s first SCIENCE FICTION film, about men shooting a space capsule rocket into the “eye” of “The Man In The MOON (with hand-tinting providing color to elements in it)...


...  In time, he created his own specially-built STUDIO [the world’s 1st movie studio, built in 1896 near Paris], & created around 500 films, usually highlighting special effects... 


...  But, tastes changed as time went on, & his work CEASED being in demand, & he stopped making movies... 

...  That caused him (played by Ben) to become very depressed, to the point that he worked to DESTROY his props & studio...


...  His own granddaughter Chloë didn’t even know just “WHO” he was--  until Asa came over one day & they chanced to find some “PROOF” about things concerning Ben’s past...   


...   Seeing how distressed Ben was at having to “recall” his past life & his having become a shopkeeper rather than the highly creative person he used to be, his wife Jeanne (HELEN McCRORY) says, Maybe it’s time to try something ELSE—”...


...  Would Ben ever be able to feel GOOD again about himself & his career (such as from people starting to re-appreciate his work)?...

...  Would Asa ever be able to get the automaton in PROPER working order (especially after it was DAMAGED from an accident)?...


...  Would Asa be able to escape the clutches of SACHA who’s always “AFTER” him at the Station?...


...  What will BECOME of Asa (Hugo), who keeps having nightmares wherein his life is threatened?...


...  Many years ago, I was friends with an artist name GEORGE BETHUREM...  He was the first person who told me about GEORGES MÉLIÈS & how he’d pioneered science fiction movies many decades before... 

...  I then made efforts to VIEW “THE MAN IN THE MOON” & some other snippets of his work, & I was amazed at the ground-breaking efforts he’d done in films...

...  Thanks to conservation & restoration work done around the world, where there was once only ONE of his films thought to be still in existence, there are now 173 available in partial or complete copies...

...  This film is in-effect a “TRIBUTE” by Scorsese to MÉLIÈS & the pioneering filmmakers (some others of whom are publicized, including having its poster feature “Hugo” hanging from the hands of a CLOCK ala the classic HARRY LLOYD film “SAFETY LAST” -- which is itself shown in part)...


...  “HUGO” is a loving & BEAUTIFULLY constructed film, with fine ACTING, wondrous sets, and some exceptionally fine CINEMATOGRAPHY (including a wonderful use of 3D to enhance the “depth”)...



...  I found it to be a real TREASURE of a film--  especially in how it celebrates some of the historical aspects of movie-making, including how many film pioneers were often “FORGOTTEN” & under-appreciated (plus introducing us to the lives of various denizens of the Train Station along the way)...

...  I feel it’s clearly one of the 10 Best movies of 2011 (rating it at 9.50 out of 10 stars), & I hope IT is properly appreciated as time goes on!...


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     [ ALSO:  you can see a review of MARTIN SCORSESE's film "SHUTTER ISLAND" on this web-site at:  http://voice-of-film.blogspot.com/2011/03/review-of-film-shutter-island.html ]

  (o_
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1 comment:

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