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Heather's DVD Review: Hugo
Is it possible for a great movie director to take a major risk and still come out on top? With the DVD release of Hugo, Martin Scorsese took a huge risk in genre departure and somehow came out on top by exploring youthful fantasy with great detail.
Hugo followed a twelve year old orphan named Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) who lost his creative father (Jude Law) to a museum fire. He was taken in by his careless Uncle Claude (Ray Winstone) and becomes his clock fixing apprentice at a Paris train station. Pretty soon, Hugo was alone after his Uncle mysteriously disappeared. Hugo was secretly taken on his late father's last project in fixing an automaton to see if he can one more glimpse of his father. Hugo turned to Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moretz) for help and finds a true friend in her. What Hugo instead discovered was a connection to Isabelle's godfather (Ben Kingsley) and his past as a filmmaker. Can Hugo help him find peace with his past and avoid getting caught by the Station Inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen)?
In terms of plot, Hugo had a lot of material to choose from, but it's two hour plus running time threatened to derail it. Scorsese's infamous attention to detail tended to focus on way too much that younger children would possibly lose interest about halfway through. It's easy to understand why Hugo won multiple Oscars for its superb visual imagery. The movie was literally a feast for the eyes in terms of visual material. The attention to detail for the train station alone was staggeringly good. The movie's ultimate hidden message of film restoration was a valuable one, but it would've been better served in a movie on its own.
In terms of the acting, Butterfield and Moretz did an excellent job of holding everything together. Butterfield's extremely expressive eyes conveyed all of his emotions from sadness to utter anger when he realized that his youthful dreams weren't entirely coming true. His innocence is projected everytime he came on the screen. Moretz brought a sense of playful mischief as a young girl who was looking for an adventure that she's only read about. She brought a sense of excitement and genuine exuberance like when Isabelle saw her first movie. She went through a wide array of emotions within a few minutes. Kingsley and Cohen brought some decent support as two very jaded men who needed to discover their lost youth. the movie add some key cameos from Christopher Lee and Jude law as key figures who helped shape the story for the better. It's just a shame that they weren't in more of it.
Verdict: Scorsese's eye for details worked almost well with this movie, but the movie's slow pacing nearly ruined it.
DVD Score: 4 out of 5 stars
Movie Rating: PG
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)