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Hugo (2011) Movie Review

November 24, 2011

Movies have come a long way since they were first used for nothing more than short moving pictures.  “Hugo” feels in many ways like a taste of the earlier days of cinema when things were simpler and music was central to the storytelling.  Hugo Cabaret (Asa Butterfield) is a young boy who lives in a train station in Paris.  He exists primarily in the shadows, wandering the passages behind the walls to wind the many clocks that keep the station running on time.  However, he also has an insatiable appetite for fixing things.

Hugo spends his time fixing a device he was left by his father so that he can find out the mysteries behind the strange machine.  While trying to decipher his father’s message, he becomes close friends with a young girl named Isabelle and explores the wonders of early silent films.  Sacha Baron Cohen plays the station’s security guard constantly on the lookout for stray children to send to the orphanage.  His character is strangely endearing thanks to the metal cast he wears on his right leg.  Ben Kingsley plays an eccentric toy shop owner with a mysterious past.

“Hugo” is driven largely by a magical score written by Howard Shore.  The music provides a sense of wonder, romance and adventure with a French flavor.  There are a number of original melodies as well as interpolations of classic piano pieces by Erik Satie and Camille Saint-Saens.  The music tells as much of a story as the visuals thanks to many lengthy scenes without dialogue.

“Hugo” is as much of a history lesson as it is escapist fun, and gives audiences a glimpse of many early silent films.  The characters in the film are in awe at the early days of cinema just as the audience recognizes their deep passion for the art-form.  “Hugo” is a heartfelt drama that provides audiences with awe and wonder along with numerous laughs.  The 3D is the best I have seen yet, providing serious depth to the scenes thanks to its loving application.  “Hugo” is a film so magnificent that it must be enjoyed in the theater.  Take someone you love to this marvelous adventure and you will not be disappointed, although you may shed a few tears of joy.

5/5

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From → Family, Fantasy

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