Friday, December 9, 2011
Hugo, (Martin Scorsese, 2011), illustrates a type of film not seen in a long time. Scorsese understands that the film, and the book by Brian Selznick that it's based off of, are as much visually driven, if not more so, than they are plot driven. It is a visual masterpiece realistically depicting early 1930's France while at the same creating a whimsical air that draws the viewer in.
I took the film to take place in two separate parts; the first in which young Hugo Cabret is attempting to rebuild his father's Automaton, and the second concerning the mysterious past of renowned early filmmaker, Georges Melies. Hugo has been orphaned and is working under is drunkard uncle as the clock winder at a train station. The film centers around the train station and the people he meets there.
The first half does it's part in exhibiting the intricacies of the train station and the clockwork that keeps the station running. Scorsese's use of 3-D film is astounding and even puts the great Avatar (James Cameron, 2009) to shame. The formal features of the film work together, much like a clock, and come together to form something that is truly special.
After the first part of the film creates the magical place in which the film occurs, the second part of the film takes the viewer on a fantastical journey through the origins of cinema. Using actual footage from some of the first films ever made, Scorsese is able to glorify the early days of film. Recreating the sets of several of George Melies films creates a modern image that ultimately creates a sense of nostalgia for something that, unfortunately, no one in that theater was alive to witness.
Scorsese pretty much hits the nail on the head with this one. In his first childhood film, he shows creativity and ingenuity in a genre that is slowly becoming less and less significant. And he does that without any vampires. Only the magic of cinema.