Reigniting the wonder

2012-02-10 07:55

Film: Hugo (UIP)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Featuring: Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ray Winstone and Emily Mortimer

Rating: 9/10

I haven’t read the bestselling novel on which Martin Scorsese’s charming film is based – Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret – but I am sure Selznick laughed out loud with delight when he saw it.

So did I.

Oscar-winning director Scorsese, who is a tour de force in the film restoration movement, has made a film that will stand the test of time.

Among other accomplishments, he effectively uses the newest filmmaking techniques in 3D. Scorsese makes sure that the added dimension adds value to
the film.

Above all, he has created a magical ode to one of early cinema’s greatest fantasists, French filmmaker Georges Méliès.

With 11 Oscar nominations this year, Hugo may well take the big one – Best Picture.

Why? Because as cinema fights for survival in a multimedia world, this film celebrates the roots of this wonderful art form and nostalgia is all the rage.

Consider the hordes who have flocked to Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris and the Downtown Abbey mania that is likely to hit South Africa this month.

Set in the 1930s, Hugo (Asa Butterfield) lives in Paris’s main train station in the machinery that keeps the giant clocks running on time.

Once he has finished his chores of winding all the clocks on the station, Hugo sits down to work on his automaton – a robot his father brought home from a museum’s basement just before he died.

Convinced that the automaton has a message from his father, Hugo filches parts from a toy shop owner in the station to fix it.

The toy shop owner, Georges (Ben Kingsley), catches him and sets in motion a magical journey that everyone who has ever been moved, awed or angered by a movie will want to take.

It is about how mechanical genius in early cinema allowed creativity to flourish.

Hugo is simultaneously about a boy finding a way to commune with his dead father and about a great storyteller who needs to be shown how to tell stories again.

Like all of Scorsese’s films, the relationships of his characters are paramount, yet here the package is wrapped up in an intricate, glittering package that ignites the audience’s childlike wonder, all enhanced with 3D.

Scorsese doesn’t use it to do anything so crass as throw things at the audience or have an
axe murderer leap off the screen. Instead, he uses it to take the audience deeper into the labyrinth of his story.

Instead of the film jumping out at you, you are invited into the film. This is the breakthrough 3D has been waiting for and it’s fitting that a director of Scorsese’s calibre should make it.

Hugo tells a universal human story while capturing the wonder cinema must have ignited in people at its birth.

The use of 3D brings that wonder full circle to where filmmaking is destined to go from here.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.