75- Hugo [7.5]

The astonishing adventure of a wily and resourceful boy whose quest to unlock a secret left to him by his father will transform Hugo and all those around him, and reveal a safe and loving place he can call home.

Without any doubt, Martin Scorsese’s Hugo is the best use of 3D I’ve seen. The opening tracking shot is so magnificently put together that I began clapping in an empty theater. Hugo is superbly shot and always a pleasure to look at, but falls flat over its perhaps too long runtime. Anytime Sacha Baron Cohen appears on screen the film grinds to a halt. At first I had thought his character to be taking place in his own movie, but thematically, he ties in well.

Chloe Moretz is quite a puzzle to me. She’s a very talented young actress, and at least appears wise beyond her years. But for some reason, it feels as if she’s phoning it in for this movie. (And yes, I do believe it’s okay to criticize a child actor- especially one this capable, who should have a long career in film.) Every time there is a big emotional scene, Moretz sells emotion in a way that doesn’t resonate. If anything, it really goes to show just how good Asa Butterfield is as Hugo.

Hugo serves as a nice companion piece to The Artist as films that show appreciation for both the early days of film and film in general. Here’s hoping that in coming years, we get more truly original movies so that we no longer need to look back with nostalgia to the good old days and instead have something to blow us away in the present.

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