Released November 2011
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Ah, it’s been a little while since I posted a review. This is not because I haven’t been reading, seeing movies or listening to music. I guess it is just because I haven’t felt strongly enough about things to write about them. However, I’ve been anticipating this movie for quite some time so I felt it couldn’t let it go without a quick review.
I wish that I had read the book (The Invention of Huge Cabret by Brian Selznick) ahead of time. I’ve heard a lot of really wonderful things about it. And it did win the Caldecott. I’m also interested in Wonderstruck, his latest release which is being considered for both the Caldecott and the Newbery. He seems to be an innovative writer/illustrator for Children’s literature and I have both books on my list. I usually prefer to read the book before the movie but my intrigue with this movie was less about the book and more about the director.
Martin Scorsese is one of my favorite directors. He’s been on the scene since the 1950s and 1960s but started getting more significant recognition in the 1970s. My Scorsese repertoire doesn’t begin until 1990 which is the year Goodfellas was released (perhaps his most famous film). Granted I was only 3 years old the year it came out, but I filled the gap in later. In 2002 he released Gangs of New York and I have been faithfully going to the theaters for his works ever since. The Aviator, The Departed, Shutter Island—all favorites of mine. I’ve also heard great things about Boardwalk Empire, his HBO tv series, and he is currently working on a Frank Sinatra film that I am excited about. All of that to say, I follow his career and I was surprised to see Hugo on his list of projects.
This movie just did not seem to fit into his usual repertoire. For starters (or maybe the only reason I felt that way) was the fact that it’s an adaption of a children’s book. Yet the feel of the movie was still very “Scorsese.” The movie wasn’t at all what I expected, but then, I had nothing to go off of but a few trailers. I love Ben Kingsley and Christopher Lee, and the children were chosen well. It was well-filmed, well-acted, well-directed, and well-written. Basically, overall it was a success. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see it on the nominations list for the Oscars. That being said, for me it moved very slowly and even dragged a bit. Did I mention that I saw it in 3D? Completely unnecessary (as is the case with most movies in 3D). I guess I feel that while it was a good film, I can’t see it appealing to kids. It’s a children’s book adaption so I feel like it should have had some appeal to children. My fear is that if I got antsy and bored at times, then there’s little hope for the kids to stay engaged the entire film.
From a film-makers perspective, it was fantastic. From an entertainment standpoint it both suceeded on some levels and failed on others. Many will enjoy the film, and many will not. I feel that the general populous is not going to embrace Hugo. As for me, I enjoyed it, but probably will not add it to my collection. Still, I can’t deny the merit of the work.