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December 15, 2011 / magickittenblogs

Hugo – a beautiful 3D tapestry

Martin Scorsese says that he now believes 3D is the future and he wants to make all his films like this from now on – I for one wouldn’t complain if they’re all as good as this one.

We Orange-Wednesdays-ed it again yesterday evening and saw Hugo 3D, or Hugo Cabret, or The Invention of Hugo Cabret, depending on which listings you read. Immediately, I was captivated by the stunning visuals – the colour palette, camera angles and intricate details picked out by the use of 3D were fabulous. Although the film has a strong element of magical realism, including some fantastical dream sequences, the ‘true-to-life’ motes of dust floating in rays of light flooding through the Paris station, which is the main location, were enchanting in themselves.

The plot centres on the eponymous Hugo (Asa Butterfield), an orphan with a skill for mending clockwork, his efforts not to be captured by station inspector Sacha Baron Cohen (just scary enough to a baddy but funny and gentle enough to be sympathetic too) and his encounters with Papa George (played with effortless genius by Ben Kingsley), a toy-booth owner whose secret he unwittingly reveals. Intertwined, there are also little subplots involving the other ‘residents’ of the station, who Hugo watches going about their business every day from his vantage points through the building’s various clockfaces.

Following Hugo, we’re plunged into a fabulous and magical world of automatons and the very beginnings of cinema, as he ranges through a wonderfully steampunk world, negotiating cogs and jets of steam behind the walls of the station. I loved this visual motif, as well as the views of Paris as a giant machine, like the clocks that Hugo winds every day.

There were a couple of things that distracted me from my enjoyment from time to time. If I could change anything about this film, it would be for the characters to say “mend” instead of “fix” and “film” instead of “movie”, but it’s hardly a significant criticism and less pedantic types probably wouldn’t even notice!

This really is a wonderful film, gentle and affectionate whilst also exciting and really interesting (dare I say it, edu-taining?) – definite recommendation for families but also any grown-ups interested in the history of film or simply wanting some magic-realistic escapism at this time of year.

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