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Review

‘Hugo’ visually stunning as 3D film

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December 9, 2011

Legendary director Martin Scorsese not only makes his family friendly movie debut, but also his debut in using 3D, which is not used as a gimmick but to truly bring life and depth into this film.

“Hugo” is set in 1930s Paris where an orphan boy named Hugo, played by Asa Butterfield, lives inside the walls of a train station making sure the clocks all work. During his time when not working, he is trying to restore a robot that he and his father were working on until his father’s death.

In order to make this work, he steals parts from the toy vendor at the train station, a grumpy old man named Georges Milias, played by Ben Kingsley.

Without getting caught by the quirky security guard of the train station, played by Sacha Baron Cohen, Hugo attempts to figure out what message this robot is going to tell him.

Soon Georges catches Hugo and takes his notebook from him that shows what Hugo is doing with this robot and that gets Georges very upset.

Eventually, the story changes midway to focus on Georges being one of the first great silent film directors.

This is where “Hugo” truly comes alive as it brings the 100-year-old silent film era to life in 3D.

We get to understand the backstory of this old bitter man and learn why he was so famous. It also lets the audience in on many of the secrets of silent film and how big of an impact they have had on what we see in theatres around today. What is even better about this is so many children will be able to watch this movie and understand how movies have evolved.

Silent films should never be forgotten and this is a great homage to them.

Now coming back to 2011, I must say that “Hugo” can give “Avatar” a run for its money in the 3D visual race because “Hugo” is absolutely breathtaking.

From the depth of the crowds, to the smoke of the train, to the snow falling, even to the spit Baron Cohen has flying out of his mouth, you get immersed. The 3D is not tacked on in the slightest and doesn’t work too hard to overtake the film.

Just the shot of the gears working inside the clocks while two characters are in heavy dialogue make you feel like you are practically there.

The lead is played wonderfully by a newcomer in Butterfield and we get a relationship between him and Chloe Grace Moretz (better known for her work in “Kick-Ass”) that has a cute friendship but doesn’t really work.

A lot of time is spent early in “Hugo” trying to build this relationship, which leads this film to be about 20 minutes too long, but that is just a minor negative.

I fell absolutely in love with this movie. Kingsley is great as usual, and the story delivers in every single way. Nothing could be a better holiday gift for the family than to go see “Hugo” in 3D.

Dustyn Dubuque is a history major and geography minor that has a love and passion for film. He watches over 100 films each year and loves Academy Awards season.