Starring: Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Sacha Bron Cohen, Christopher Lee, Michael Stuhlbarg, robot
Directed by: Martin Scorsese (Bringing Out the Dead; After Hours; Boxcar Bertha; Michael Jackson’s “Bad” video)
Synopsis: Young Hugo is an orphan who lives in the bowels of a French train station who must solve the mystery of the Robot-Man before it destroys humanity.
Watching the opening scene, you can’t help but wonder how great Charlie and the Chocolate Factory could have been if Scorsese directed it.
Worst part: I understand that he’s supposed to be the villain, but Sacha Baron Cohen’s character gets pretty annoying. Also, it’s a little odd that everyone in Paris speaks with a British accent.
Best line: Hugo: “I’d imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured, if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn’t be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason, too.”
Nudity: The automaton is shamefully unclothed.
Overall: An incredibly well-made film by a true master filmmaker. Scorsese is just amazing in that he can keep up his astronomically high level of directing in his 70s. He’s old school, with old school meaning he gives a shit about his actors and the quality of his craft and truly brings out the best in everything he does (ok, Shutter Island was a bit of a hiccup, but he was out of his wheelhouse). Yeah, I know I used that in my Wolf of Wall Street review, but it still totally applies here. Hugo couldn’t possibly be more different than Wolf of Wall Street, but Scorsese pulls it off equally as well. This is a delightful film full of wondrous elements and fantastic homages to old-style movie making. The intricate sets, deep characters, whimsical music and creative shots are really outstanding. I wish I had been able to see it in the theater to experience the carefully done 3D elements. But it’s a beautiful story of fixing broken things, hearts and spirits. If you’re a lover of history, movies, or the history of movies, you should check it out.
Score: 8.5 train station orphans (out of 10)