HUGO [2011] movie review

February 25, 2012 · Print This Article

I did not see HUGO in a 3D theater, in fact I saw it at home.  I am not a fan of 3D so I do not think that gimmick would have helped me like HUGO any better.  HUGO has the makings of what you think must be a very good film, if not a great film because after all it is directed by Martin Scorsese, it is set in Paris in the 1930s, and images on the screen are so rich, textured and beautiful to behold.  However, there is not a character to care about anywhere to be seen, unfortunately.

My major problems with HUGO mostly stem from not understanding why characters are they way they are.  It seems if they just talked to each other instead of being purposefully stubborn, then all problems would have been solved forthright, as normal people would have done.

Hugo as a young boy living on his own running the clocks in the Paris train station, an orphan and friendless, is an amazingly unlikeable kid.  First off, whatever effect was used to make his eyes neon blue was a poor choice as they were just huge distractions.  Every time there is a closeup of his face you just see these two huge alien blue eyes.  He is not playing Juliet, there is no need to be dazzled by his eyes.

He has several run ins with two other totally unlikable characters in the stereotypically strict station security inspector (played by an unrecognizable to me Sacha Baron Cohen) and a grumpy old toy stand owner.  Neither of these characters communicates anything at all until the very end of the movie, so all along the viewer is just left wondering, why are these two so angry and why do they just not tell us why they are angry???

The only reason why the movie is two hours long is because the toy stand owner never speaks about his feelings.  It could have been a ten minute movie as he demands Hugo hand over a notebook full of drawings of an automaton.  Hugo demands it back, but the toy shop owner refuses.  Hey, toy shop owner, just say why you will not give it back like a normal person would!!

I guess the movie is about Hugo finding out that mystery, but there is not really any direction showing that, basically just Hugo and his new gal pal, the god daughter of the angry toy shop owner, running around Paris and the train station seemingly randomly just showing up reading books about movies, etc.

You can tell the storytelling in the first 95% of the movie is a fail because the last 5% of the movie is totally all just exposition spewed out by the grumpy toy shop owner, finally, finally explaining why he is the way he is.  Thrown in before are a few jarring and purposeless dream sequences by the boy, a lame amateur movie technique for any level filmmaker.

I just could not enjoy HUGO.

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