Film review “Hugo”

Back in the late 50s, a film came out called “This is Cinerama”, with an ultra wide screen (using three cameras). This was touted as being the future of film, and a big name blockbuster How the West Was Won” was filmed using this medium (1062).  But it fizzled quickly as audiences all ended up with chiropractors for the muscle strain of moving their heads back and forth like watching Wimbledon.

Similarly, not all critics are enthralled with the new technology of 3-D, and some have opined that the 3-D effects are deluged specifically to titillate the audience rather than enhance the film. Roger Ebert has written in the past that 3-D fails to make a case for the serious film maker specifically because it’s an open ended distraction, necessarily lessening the film’s impact.  Can one imagine “Casablanca” or “A Man For All Seasons” in 3-D?  Probably not.  It isn’t out of the question that film may evolve to continuing iterations of movies created specifically for audiences that like and are willing to pay for 3-D simply to see the effects in films with no plat or characterizations, just non-stop action.

That said, this film seems to me to be a nice balance if you don’t take it too seriously.  Based on Brian Selznick’s New York Times best-seller, “The Invention of Hugo Cabret.” Hugo is a frenetic escapade of a young boy whose journey to unlock a secret left to him by his father leads to an amazing adventure in dazzling high tech 3-D. Directed by the master, Marty Scorsese, starring some unknowns supported by Ben Kingsley, Jude law and Sacha Baron Cohen.

Paramount Pictures has gone for broke promoting this expensive high-tech film to wide audiences hoping the critics bless it and audiences follow. This risk will be well worth the taking because of the director.  The rich detail and meticulous composition seen in this film are only possible when a creative director has a free hand to obsessively fulfill a project’s ambitions. Scorsese has outdone himself with “Hugo”.Scorsese at age 69, has very little left to prove after directing such masterpieces as Gangs of New York, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Mean Streets, the Last Waltz just to name a few.   The production is just magnificent. 3-D has definitely come of age and this film makes intricate use of it to the audience’s obvious delight. The film’s craft and technical accomplishments are spectacular.

Best feature:  The 3-D technology is dazzling.

Worst feature:  The film is a little long and somewhat repetitive, presumably working the 3-D effect to the max.

I give it four of five giant clockworks.

Eagerly awaited:  “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”- expected in Dec.

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