Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hugo Okay...

Martin Scorsese has made a film love letter to the world of film he reveres and to film fans everywhere.

However, when Scorsese gets out of his element his films tend to be rather flat and very safe. Much like Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, Age of Innocence and Kundun Hugo hits all the narrative points it needs to to be a successful film but it doesn't soar when it should.

That is not to say it is an usuccessful film. I love that it highlights the career of Georges Méliès. And it's cool that the two kids sneak into Safety Last*, and that it has an melancholic automaton that holds the secret that spurs the narrative forward. But despite all of this - as well as the fine 3D quality - the film really feels like it is by-the-numbers filmmaking. It is also a tad slow for the type of film that it is. The film's pace is slack when it should be charging forward. Much like The Artist too - the other homage to film - the story is fairly simplistic. And, yes, it is based on a kids book but watching it, it didn't feel like a kids film. It instead felt like a kids film made for adults.

Look, it's not like my opinion matters much anyway; Hugo has a whopping 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. The film is definitely worth seeing. But I wish Scorsese could have tweaked it a bit to make it more exciting and more memorable.

* Note that Safety Last came out in 1923 yet Hugo takes place in 1930. I can only guess they were sneaking into a revival screening of a silent film.

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