Hugo is magical, interesting and beautiful to watch – all of the things good cinema should be but so often isn’t. The film makes sure you remember that, because it’s entirely the point.
Since the death of his father, young Hugo has lived alone in a train station in Paris - turning the clocks for his absent uncle, stealing food, and searching for the key to a wind-up figure that his father had been trying to fix. After a few chance meetings, the film then becomes more about the early days of cinema, the wonder of story-telling, and the importance of finding one’s purpose in the world. It sounds corny... but it’s actually kind of lovely.
It’s flamboyant, but nicely executed. There may not be any gangsters or taxi drivers, but this is still Martin Scorsese at his best, and you can see his love for film come through in this venture. Maybe he’s getting a little sentimental in his older years.
While Asa Butterfield isn’t great as Hugo, excellent support from Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen and Chloe Grace Moretz (though she’s a little irritating) elevates the film. The 3D is exceptional, actually adding to the experience of the film rather than seeming like a flashy add-on, and the setting and costumes are enchanting.
Overall, Hugo is a magnificent ode to cinema. Go, and remind yourself that cinema is actually amazing.