Currently Watching: Hugo


Me and my wife just watched the movie Hugo by Martin Scorsese. I’ve seen the trailer and got excited to see what the famous director has done since it seems that it’s a tad far from what he’s usually done (Shutter Island, Taxi Driver, The Departed, The Aviator and more) and this is a children’s movie. Has he succeeded in making this or not?


This is a story of an orphan boy named Hugo (Asa Butterfield) who lost his father (Jude Law), but was left with a mysterious damaged automaton that seems to have a message for him. He lives inside the walls of a train station, which is where he lived for while after the death of his father. While he was there, he learned about fixing clocks and because of it (with the things he learned from his father), learned how to fix the automaton as well. Then along the way, he was caught by a toy maker (Ben Kingsley), and there his adventure starts with the help of a friend, Isabelle, who the grand daughter of the toy maker (Chloë Grace Moretz).

As I watched the movie, my wife and I were looking for things to progress, although 10 minutes into the film and you don’t really get the sense why you are there in the first place. After a while, as we expected some kind of excitement in the film, we realize that this is more of tribute film than an exciting adventure (which the trailers kind of misled us). The movie itself is good overall, but a tad bit dragging than I wanted it to be. I think this is because the trailer was just exciting, that it lost the actual essence of the movie.

Why is it a tribute film? It’s a movie about appreciating the classic movies, where imagination is translated to something people can see. It’s a wonderful film, but I don’t think it’s something kids will appreciate especially with the movies these days where excitement is king and story progression is fast. Those two things are not here, story is told in a slow pace although it does pick up when you’ve gotten into 1/4th of the movie. Excitement only came a few times, but one of them is actually didn’t happen.

I’m a little surprised with Sacha Baron Cohen who is the star of movies like Borat and Bruno. Sacha is actually pretty good in this movie, nothing like any movie I’ve seen him before (other than in Sweeney Todd). He is the main villain in the film, but I wish there was something more to his character. It felt like he could have been more, because the movie does things to make him seem evil and at the same time, make him like any person who is trying to make some sense into his life, but it felt a little empty. It didn’t reach the point where I hated him or even liked him. The only thing I felt is that if I were Hugo, I just didn’t want to see him, but I wasn’t afraid of him.

It’s hard to tell what to say about it as a 3D film as it was marketed that way, but as far as I can tell, there were only a few scenes that I know that would have worked so well in this movie. The first scene will stand out because it’s an interesting flyby scene, and scenes from people who were watching the classic movies, because it’s a moment that gives you a sense of how people are in the same situation, other than that, it’s just like watching everything through a mirror. There is nothing in this movie that jumps out and abuses the 3D, it only enhances the movie overall.

So, what I do think about the movie, it’s a good movie overall. The problem I think is that the movie is too serious and the trailer misled me and my wife to think that this was an adventure film. Should other people see this? Yes, because it gives you that sense of appreciation of film making and the artists behind it all and there’s a very good story. But don’t watch if you expected something more.

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