Rating: 4/5 stars (Four stars)
Star cast: Ben Kingsley, Asa Butterfield, Sacha Baron Cohen, Chloë Moretz, Helen McCrory, Jude Law.
What’s Good: The visuals of the entire film; the superb acting; the direction.
What’s Bad: Nothing really.
Verdict: Hugo is an excellent film, but the lack of publicity might take a toll on its box-office collections.
Loo break: None.
Watch or Not?: Definitely. Watch it for excellent visuals and the fairy tale-like feel it leaves you with.
Paramount Pictures’ Hugo is the story of an orphan who wants to find out the mystery behind an automaton that he and his father were trying to repair.
A wizard on machines, young Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) lives in a railway station in Paris and maintains all the clocks at the station. While he tends the clocks most of the time, he spends the rest of his time trying to repair an automaton that he and his father (Jude Law) tried to revive. Living without a guardian, the boy often flicks food at the railway station, and even spare parts from a nearby toy shop owned by a grumpy old man Georges Méliès (Ben Kingsley).
On one of his ambitious dares to steal a part from the shop, Georges catches him red-handed. Instead of getting him arrested by the ruthless station inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen), Georges makes him hand over the contents of his pockets – which includes a diary with mechanical sketches – and lets him go.
But Hugo is desperate to repair the automaton with the help of the sketches his father made in the notebook. He believes that the automaton (a man-like machine which seems to be designed to write) holds some message from his father. He follows Georges home and begs his daughter Isabelle (Chloë Moretz) to help him. An excited Isabelle readily agrees and the duo set out for an adventure to find out more about the book, Georges and the automaton.
Why did Georges take the diary away from Hugo? What does the diary contain? What secret does the automaton hold? Will Hugo and Isabelle find out what lies behind all this? The rest of the movie reveals all.
Hugo Review: Script Analysis
Hugo has been inspired from Brian Selznick’s book The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Screenplay writer John Logan has beautifully adapted this book to the big screen. With its fairytale-like feel, Hugo has that perfect balance of humour, mystery and child-like wonder that fills you with awe.
Hugo Review: Star Performances
With their fantastic performances, the cast of Hugo makes it difficult to pick and choose. Ben Kingsley and Asa Butterfield own the movie with their performances as Georges Méliès and Hugo Cabret respectively. With his nuanced act as the star to a broken man, Ben is matchless while Asa is a complete scene stealer with his blue eyes. Sacha Baron Cohen elicits laughter and disdain as the station inspector. Chloë Moretz is cute as the excitable Isabelle. Helen McCrory is very good as Mama Jeanne. Jude Law is okay in his small role as Hugo’s father.
Hugo Review: Direction & Special Effects
If you ever needed a reason to praise Martin Scorsese’s direction and his versatility, this is it. He keeps the story tight without overindulging in visuals or harping on the emotional loss of the characters. To him, it’s their triumph in the end that matters; and to us too. This, of course, would have been near impossible without Robert Richardson’s beautiful and seamless cinematography. Thelma Schoonmaker’s editing is crisp. Dante Ferretti’s production design is gorgeous. Visual effects are good. Howard Shore’s music is very good.
Hugo Review: The Last Word
Even with its slight fairy-tale like feel, Hugo is an amazing watch for kids and adults alike but the lack of promotions will take a toll at the box-office.