Entertainment Magazine

Movie Review: Hugo (2011)

Posted on the 30 November 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: Andy Spencer

Writer: John Logan
Director: Martin Scorsese

In all humility, Scorsese is one of the best directors of all time. His list of masterpieces includes such films as “The Departed”, “Raging Bull”, and “Taxi Driver”. However, almost all of his movies seem to be very similar in tone: dark and dreary. While almost every one of his films has been its own hallmark of quality, I personally wondered whether he would ever branch out and try to do something different, even if it couldn’t match his more adult works.

Movie Review: Hugo (2011)

But, skeptics can release their long-held breath, because his first family film, “Hugo”, is now in theaters. And, even more surprising, it is quite possibly his best film yet. It elevates itself so far above the rank and file “kiddie film” that it almost seems a disservice to call it a family-oriented one. Only Pixar has managed to successfully make movies that appeal to so many audiences at once.

The story is straightforward enough on the surface: a young boy finds a small robot of sorts and tries to fix it. However, look past the simple trappings, and you will find a movie that effortlessly captures what seems to be Martin Scorsese’s persona in a two-hour long bottle. No film I have ever seen manages to distill the innocence of childhood or reverence for filmmaking so delightfully, let alone both at once. The movie has an underlying energy about it that makes it incredibly hard to stop watching. I felt like I would miss something important even if I blinked.

I really have to give it up for the three main actors in the film. Asa Butterfield manages to bring such emotion to Hugo’s character that you fell something for him before he has even uttered a word. Chloe Moretz is typically terrific as thrill-seeking bookworm Isabelle. Finally, Ben Kingsley perfectly plays the part of the tortured soul, managing to make you feel revulsion, pity, and sympathy towards him as the film goes along. Kingsley has always done a good job of playing villainous roles, but he really steals the spotlight in this case.

The one true flaw of this film is, predictably, the 3D. Unlike the reigning 3D usage standard-setter, “Avatar”, it really didn’t feel necessary. And it made the classic blunder of having things going towards the camera, which just screams laziness. However, it is a testament to the film’s overall quality that it was that noticeable, because not many others are so seamlessly brilliant.

The best family of the year by a long shot, “Hugo” is a fun, energetic time that almost anyone can enjoy. And I really do mean anyone. Films like this simply do not come around very often, so enjoy it while it lasts. And chalk up another epic win for the director while you’re at it.

SCORE: 9/10

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