For being one of my favorite movies, my earlier Hugo review is among one of my least popular posts on this site. Re-reading the old review, I can see why. For being one of my favorite movies, it sure could use a better review.
Visually, the film is just mind-blowingly gorgeous, with certain colors, typically shades of blue, popping in any given scene. This creates a beautiful contrast. The use of lighting is worth applauding and the costumes range from colorful to drab, which allows for easy layers in character status. Most importantly, the special effects are wonderful. Visually, this could be one of the best movies of the last decade.
Now, the most beautiful visual experience could me nothing if the acting is horrible. Luckily, each lead gives amazing and dramatic performances. Asa Butterfield plays Hugo, a boy who has experienced so much pain in his short life. Each line he delivers is done with such effortless perfection that you forget that you are watching a movie. Ben Kingsley is perfectly cast and there is very little to complain about his performance. Chloe Grace Moretz plays Hugo’s one and only friend and does a flawless job at that. I must say, though, this is the first time I’ve seen the actress in a role where she isn’t killing people or calling people less than desirable names. I must say it was nice to see her act in a non-violent movie. The biggest surprise, however, was Sacha Baron Cohen as Inspector Gustave. He was funny, dramatic and you couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. Three things I’ve never said about him…
The movie progresses very well, with Hugo sort of growing up and realizing things throughout the film. There wasn’t really a boring scene in this film, well unless you were expecting an action-filled experience. The major problem I had was that the trailers portrayed it as something it wasn’t. Based on the trailers, it was an epic film involving kids and robots, not a child’s imagination and perseverance through one of the toughest times in his life.
The film is a beautiful love letter to classic cinema and Martin Scorsese directs this flawlessly. He’s one of the great directors of the era and this film is no different from his earlier films. Well it is different in that it’s not hyper-violent or filled with swearing, but you get my point. All his films are wonderful and I love them all.
If you have not watched this movie, change that. Watch it. You may not like it as much as I do, but you may end up liking it more.