Hugo is pure enchantment that recalls to mind (at least for me) such films as Pan's Labyrinth, Time Bandits and Stardust; each, though very different, all possess a magical aspect to them that transcends the averaged movie. There is also an infusion of Dickens here that one would have to be blind to miss. I truly wish that I'd had the chance to see this film in theatres instead of at home and I fear that because of that I have missed some of it's grandeur. Should it ever again return to the big screen I shall make a point not to miss it again.
This was a film filled with surprises for me, though not the usual kind. Hugo's aspect is grand, equally both bright and dark, and mesmerizing; I truly felt as if under a spell the entire time. Yet the surprises I speak of are something else entirely.
A better cast of actors could not have been chosen for this film and they execute the steps of their dance before the cameras flawlessly. Kingsley, Butterfield and Moretz may have garnered more screen-time than the remainder of the cast but each and everyone made the most of their allotted time and all of their characters are vital components of the spell.
Cohen's station inspector was a delight for me, as was the brief cameo of Jude Law as Hugo's father. The automaton and Christopher Lee both brought smiles to my face in their turns. In truth, I smiled quite a lot while watching this film. :)
Yet the most pleasant surprise of all was the fact that Martin Scorsese himself directed this most incredible enchantment. A man whose name is synonymous with films that plum the depths of the darkness in the human soul; a man whose name brings to mind mobsters, bullets and blood; and finally, a man who I never thought in a million years would even be interested in helming such a delightful enchanting tale such as this. I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Scorsese yet his films have a tendency not to leave one filled with warm and fuzzy feelings, indeed quite the opposite.
Paris, Dickens, clockworks, the hunchback of Notre Dame, the fledgling birth of the film industry...all woven together into the perfect magic spell. Hugo is well worth the wait (and the watching) and the world seen through the eyes of a lonely orphan boy is a truly awesome place...even when that world is the confines of a busy Paris train station in the 1930's.