GalacticaBBS: Martin Scorsese's "Hugo" is a high tech, 3D look at the birth pangs of the motion picture and the lost art of the automaton... - GalacticaBBS

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Martin Scorsese's "Hugo" is a high tech, 3D look at the birth pangs of the motion picture and the lost art of the automaton...

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Saw "Hugo" in 3D tonight.

Despite what I'd heard about it (and even with 11 Academy Award nominations), I suppose I was half-expecting Martin Scorsese's "Hugo" to be a live-action "Tin Tin"/"Polar Express" kind of movie, and it was absolutely nothing like that at all. It's not a live-action CGI children's cartoon. It has children in it (Chloe Moretz of "Kick Ass" and "Let Me In" for one), but it is by NO means a children's movie (George Lucas take note; you can appeal to children without being childish). "Hugo" is borderline dreamlike (with it's slightly surreal early 20th century Paris imagery), sophisticated-yet-quaint, heartfelt and unexpectedly moving. And a loving tribute not only to the lost art of automaton clockworks, but to the magic of film pioneer George Melies ("A Voyage to the Moon"). The movie finds a young orphan Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) who lives in a ramshackle old clock tower above a busy Paris train station, trying to continue his late father's work in piecing back together a lovingly made yet mysterious automaton doll (think a steampunk Pinocchio); hoping it will give him insight into his late father the lonely boy so desperately craves. Along the way he encounters a cantankerous, crotchety old toy shop owner played in a stern, yet emotional performance by Sir Ben Kingsley ("Gandhi"), and a young, somewhat sheltered young girl who befriends him (Moretz; who is also the ward of the toy shop owner and his wife). Sacha Cohen ("Borat") also has a diverting, slightly over-the-top comic relief role as a partly disabled train station policeman who is on Hugo's trail for petty theft (sort of an "Les Miserables" Inspector Valjean to Hugo's Javert), and is also smitten with a local floral shop lady. A very different role for the usually vulgar, quasi reality-based comedy of Cohen.

Anything else I would tell you would simply spoil the experience. Part of the fun of the movie is seeing how all of these characters unravel and ultimately relate to each other. And they do so elegantly and symmetrically; which is appropriate as one of the themes of the movie is that each of us is a machine of sorts. And we all need to find our 'purpose' with each other in order to fill our own unique niche in the manifold clockwork gears of the world around us (with the mysterious, incomplete automaton being the concrete metaphor of that idea).

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This is the third 'retro'-styled movie I've seen in a row ("The Artist" "War Horse" and now "Hugo"). It's as though Hollywood has turned towards it's roots for inspiration and it has totally worked! By dusting off old movie ideas, styles and giving tribute to the pioneers, these filmmakers (Spielberg and Martin Scorsese among them) have given new audiences weaned on all-CGI, digital, THX-surround sound, cookie-cutter made 'product' movies (I'm looking at YOU, Green Lantern) an appreciation for the simplicity, poignancy and magic of the moving picture. Ironically, they're using the new technology to do it, too. This movie didn't need to be in 3D necessarily (save for a few cool moments here and there), but since it was shot that way and since the effect is more subtle and realistic than, say, the post-de-facto 3D effect of "Clash of the Titans", I decided to see it in it's 'native mode.' "Hugo" really rewards a film geek audience, and it's a real pleasure too. One of the most original uses for 3D I've seen since 2009's equally brilliant (and somewhat disturbing) "Coraline."

And I'm still reeling from the fact that this was a Martin Scorsese movie ("Goodfellas" "Casino" "Taxi Driver"). An absolute MUST for film buffs who want to experience and appreciate where the magic of the movies came from...

Four out of four clapping automatons--er, Cylons! :cylonclap: :cylonclap: :cylonclap: :cylonclap:

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obsolete toaster Icon

05 March 2012 - 09:03 AM
And five Oscars!! Very happy, I am...
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