Directed by Martin Scorsese
I often find myself going into movies fairly certain as to whether or not I will enjoy the movie I will be watching. In the months prior to watching Hugo, I had deceived myself into thinking that it would be a irredeemably childish and totally uninteresting. Being the warped, frustrated young man that I am, I refused to acknowledge the fact that it could very well be a wholesome, entertaining motion picture. I stand corrected.
From the opening shot, we instantly see the scope of Scorsese's vision. With the sweeping grandeur of these preliminary tracking shots, it becomes quite obvious that Hugo will be more than "just some kids movie". Accompanied by a wonderful musical score and captivating visuals, this film has much more to offer than your average children's movie. Easily one of the most aesthetically pleasing movies of the year.
There is a certain magical quality to Hugo that I have difficulty. With tastefully integrated visual effects and meticulously crafted set-pieces, we are introduced to a unique and stunning backdrop which provides more than just beautiful scenery, but manages to reflect the playful and joyous nature of the story and characters. Rarely does a film's setting manage to achieve this level of chemistry with its leads.
When it comes to performances, much like could be expected of any Scorsese picture, every cast member performs admirably. Child actors Asa Butterfield and Chloe Moretz (definitely one of the most capable young actresses working today) deliver strong central performances, providing a much-needed base for which the rest of the film can build off of. For all the whimsy of Hugo, there is an inherent need for stability, which Butterfield and Moretz successfully manage to contribute.
Despite the exceptional performances from the young actors, it is clear to me that the real star of the show is none other than veteran actor Ben Kingsley, whose bitter personification of Moretz's lovable, but curmudgeonly godfather manages to steal the show. His character may be fairly typical both in dialogue and temperament, but his sincere performance more than makes up for any of the script's inadequacies.
Given his past in adult-oriented films, the sheer surprise of Scorsese's ability to produce this strong a movie from a children's novel alone makes Hugo a worthwhile experience for any movie buff. Factor in Scorsese's obvious love of cinema (which makes for a real treat to any movie buffs out there), and you've got yourself one of the most enjoyable movies of the year.