Tuesday, November 29, 2011
At The Movies: HUGO. Martin Scorsese's Family Film
Hugo is a film adapted from the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret, and it's Martin Scorsese's first foray into family friendly entertainment. And he's done a good job. Hugo is about an orphan boy, named Hugo, who lives inside the walls of the Train Station in 1930's Paris. He steals mechanical parts so he can fix the automaton his father was working on before he died, and it's not easy to find parts, live in the walls, keep the clocks running, and stay out of the way of the Station Inspector's sights. Hugo believes if he can make the automaton work then somehow his father will be able to send him a message.
For those who may have read my blog before, you might have read my thoughts on the book, which I loved!( http://screenspinster.blogspot.com/2011/08/in-books-invention-of-hugo-cabret-by.html ) So I was naturally curious about the film version. The book had captured my imagination and transported me into this world. Would the movie do the same? Well, yes, and no. I liked the film. It is beautifully shot (I skipped the 3D version as I hate 3D) and it's a feast for the senses. The train station, where much of the story takes place, looks fantastic, and the automaton came to life on screen, and the giant clocks and all their mechanisms looks realistic and magical. That being said, I wish I had liked it more, or loved it. It's a fine film, well made, with a heart warming story. I was really drawn to Ben Kingsley's character, Papa Georges, and his backstory was told with tenderness and was full of colour.
I think my problem with the film is the casting of the lead character. I didn't particularly believe Asa Butterfield as Hugo. For me, there was just something off about his acting. I felt he was trying to be Hugo, instead of actually being Hugo. There was a lot of eyeball, eyebrow, and lip acting. If you see the film you'll understand what I mean. I can't help thinking that if someone else had been cast in this important role that I would have loved the film instead of kind of liking it.
That being said, a film that I kind of liked that was made by Scorsese is still one of the best films currently playing.