pen rainbow

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Monday—The Movie Corner: HUGO directed by Martin Scorsese

If you see only one of this year's Academy Award nominated movies, choose this one!

Academy Award Nominated
Wow, wow, wow—HUGO is a true work of art, flawlessly executed by master filmmaker and film historian, Martin Scorsese.  Go see it, but only in 3D.  It is beyond beautiful, state-of-the-art 3D, and visually breathtaking.  Nominated for Academy Awards in 11 categories, including Best Director and Best Picture.  It has already won a Golden Globe for Best Director, and it is sure to win Oscars.     

The Book
The movie is based on the 526-page children's graphic novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Martin Selznick.  This book won the Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children in 2008.  

The Story
It's about a 12-year old boy named Hugo Cabret, the son of a talented watchmaker (played by Jude Law in the movie) who lives in Paris in the 1930's.  His father's fascination with mechanical things leads him to purchase a discarded automaton (mechanical man) from a burned out museum collection, which he begins to restore with his son, using spare parts from his watchmaking business.   

Hugo's father dies unexpectedly, and Hugo ends up living with his drunkard uncle in a hidden attic apartment above a train depot in Paris.  His uncle teaches him how to maintain the train station clocks, and when the uncle disappears, Hugo takes over as the timekeeper.  He continues to live alone and in secrecy within the walls of the train station, stealing food from the depot market and small parts for his automaton from a toy vendor (played by Sir Ben Kingsley in the movie) named Georges Méliès.  

One day, he is caught stealing from the toy vendor, and rather than turn him over to the police inspector (played by Sacha Baron Cohen), Monsieur Méliès decides to make the boy work off his debt as an assistant in the toy booth.  The character of George Méliès is based on the real-life French filmmaker by the same name who created hundreds of early silent films from 1890 into the 1920's.  He made the first Sci-Fi film called, A Trip To The Moon, containing a very famous scene of a rocket shooting into the eye of the moon. You'll see how all of this works in the plot of this very entertaining movie!

Inspiration for Older Kids
The Oscar-winning director, Martin Scorsese, known for crime thrillers and graphic depictions of violence, said that he made the movie after his wife asked him to make a film that would make their 12-year old daughter, Francesca, proud.  

This vibrant PG movie moves along slowly as the intricate relationships between the characters and their convoluted histories unfold.  Young kids will probably be bored, older teens will probably leave before the end of the movie, but it is perfect for tweens.  The interweaving story lines provide a rich canvas for the director's passion for early cinema, and in order to get the most out of this movie, viewers should be old enough to appreciate the development of cinematic art.  

If you know a kid who is old enough to sit still in a movie, but still young enough to be inspired (I recommend it for kids who read a lot), by all means, take him/her/them to see HUGO.  It's also a great date night movie for parents!  Look for cameos by some of the Harry Potter stars, as well as an appearance by the author of the book playing one of Monsier Méliès' students.  

A Happy Ending
Nothing bad happens in this movie, and there are no disturbing scenes.  It won't scare the beejeezus out of anyone.  It has a heartfelt story and a happy ending.       

It is simply a beautiful, magical, creative movie.  The child stars—Asa Butterfield as Hugo & Chloë Grace Moretz, as his wonderful, eccentric friend—are utterly enchanting.  Go see it, but only in 3D.  This is among my favorite movies of all time, and I will go see it again on the big screen in 3D.