Movies have been entertaining us and enchanting us ever since its inception in the 1800s. In its long and illustrious past, one would not fail to find one movie every now and then that has reaffirmed its viewer’s belief and love for the cinematic medium. Movies that have enthralled us, movie that have enlightened us and movie that made us dream. Hugo would be one such cinematic gem. A movie which will make you smile, a movie which will make you cry, a movie which will give wings to your dreams and at the end a movie which will teach you a thing or two about this wonderful journey we call life.
Hugo is based on the graphic novel by Brian Selznick, about a boy Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield), who lives in the walls of a French Railway Station and tends to the clocks of the station. The only possession that the boy has is an Automaton (a robot which resembles a clockwork), left behind by his dead father. Hugo is trying desperately to repair the automaton but is missing important spare parts. He resorts to stealing the parts from a disgruntled toy shop owner Papa George (Ben Kingsley) not knowing that he and the shopkeeper share a common thread which will lead him to making the greatest discovery of his life and bring forth into limelight one of the greatest exponents of fantasy cinema.
If there was a movie for one and all, it is Hugo. It would redefine the term Fantasy. It’s not so much a fantasy itself as it is about fantasy. I loved it even more for the simple reason that it is one of those rare movies which is about movies. The movie is so very beautiful just to look at that I fell in love with it instantly. There is a sequence at the beginning wherein a massive clock morphs into the Paris city, in all its beauty. This sequence tells you what is about to come and you are not disappointed. The buildup is beautifully designed and there is a constant element of surprise and what will happen next which will keep the viewers engrossed. The director uses no cheap thrills to make you jump out of the seat. This is Scorsese’s first tryst with the 3D tech nad he shows us the best way to use 3D by using it not as a prop but as a vital element to convey the third dimension and also very beautifully elevate the reach of the visuals.
As is customary with almost all Scorsese movies, there is subtle comedy involving not only Hugo but also some of the characters who form a part of the station where the story unfolds. There is the Station Inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen of the Borat fame). He is a constant comic relief firstly because of his overt nature and secondly for his misery at being unable to smile and trying hard to rectify that flaw. Another revelation would be Chloë Grace Moretz as Isabella. The goddaughter of the Toy shop keeper with a penchant for adventures. Chloë delivers a subtle performance which is reminiscent of pros. Ben Kingsley turns in a warm and thoroughly moving performance. His scenes with Butterfield are alone worth the price of admission. His transformations from being successful to what he calls being a broken toy and again back to limelight is done with such aplomb that one would stand up and take notice. Helen McCrory as Kingsley’s wife is amazing. She looks beautiful and gracious and in the later halves of the movie comes to her own.
There was questions all around as to what made Scorsese shoot his film using 3D Technology. I read an article where Scorsese answered all questions saying that he has been a 3D fan ever since he was 12 years old and watched almost all 3D movies. But then there was a period of 40 years where 3D movies faced a drought. It was only in the recent times that that the technology has caught up with the trend again and it became imperative for him to use it for 3D being a childhood fantasy for him. Considering the premise of Hugo, I feel that 3D was used to perfection in this movie. It doesn’t have any swoosh out of the screen moments as is customary with all 3D movies and as we all know Scorsese has a habit of adding something extra to the existing myths, he does exactly that with 3D. He adds an extra dimension to the whole experience elevating the special effects to such an extent that the jury at the motion pictures association had to honor it with an Oscar for visual effects. It is something which cannot be explained in words but has to be experienced. The first scene wherein the camera flows across the city and zeroes in on the train station almost flowing through the platform with two trains on either side is ravishingly beautiful. It is just the beginning of the great things that follow.
To sum it all up, I would have to admit that Hugo is one movie which cannot be missed at any cost. And I would suggest everyone to go for it in 3D. Watch it!! Enjoy it!! and then fall in love with it.