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Hugo (2011)

To be honest, when this film came out, I wasn’t particularly interested in going to see it. So when it was announced that we would be watching it in the first week of my university course, I was interested to see what it was about, but not exactly excited.

Firstly, I surprisingly really enjoyed this film; full of amazing visual effects, an interesting plot (appealing to my nerdiness of films) and an amazing cast. With Ben Kingsley at the helm playing famous filmmaker Georges Melies (an innovator in films history), the story follows a young orphan living in the clock tower of Montparnasse station in Paris. In control of the clocks, Hugo has to ensure that all of the clocks are working in order to resist capture from the orphan-snatching station inspector (played by Sacha Baron Cohen) and along the way faces a number of mishaps and adventures.

What I found so interesting about this film is that it notably pays homage to past filmmakers and events. From the obvious Georges Melies (taking you behind the scenes of what it could be like to film motion pictures such as The Kingdom Of Fairies (1903)), to the Lumiere brothers, Harold Lloyds Safety Last and even recreates the 1895 Montparnasse derailment in a dream sequence. This in itself adds interest and shows Scorsese’s artistic hand in the adaptation of the novel by Brian Selznick’s The Invention Of Hugo Cabret.

Now, the visual/special effects, not only is this cleverly done through the homage to film history, but the use of CG with the skyline of Paris, the automaton and the station itself is something it should definitely be credited for. My favorite shot in particular is the opening sequence; filmed in an almost continuous shot, we are introduced to the main setting and all of the characters. Through using this flow, it allows us to feel like we are there-living the action as the characters do.

Overall, to put it shortly, this is definitely worth a watch. With its outstanding visuals, acting and an interesting plot, it will keep you entertained throughout its running time.

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— AW