Martin Scorsese's movie-obsessed adventure makes its way to home video
Paris in the 1930s, and a young boy called Hugo (Asa Butterfield) is on a quest to find out the secret behind his father’s death.
A new film from director Martin Scorsese is always something to be celebrated but when it’s a 3D enabled kids flick, it’s only prudent to be wary. Thankfully, Hugo is a bit of a gem.Scorsese crafts a thrilling and well paced adventure for his young leads and ties it all up in a movie lover’s bow that makes it clear why he wanted to be involved in the project. Much of Hugo’s running time is devoted to the worship and presentation of early silent films – focussed on those of George Melies who has an important role to play in the film.
It’s a marvellous opportunity for modern audiences to witness the ingenuity of one of the pioneers of early cinema but Scorsese does stray a little close to an extended lecture from time to time, pushing the film to over two hours as he genuflects at the altar of Melies. It’s no bad thing, particularly for those unfamiliar with the work of a true movie magician, but it does kill the momentum of young Hugo’s investigation.
Young Butterfield is impressive as Hugo, but normally dependable Chloe Moretz can’t quite retain her English accent. Ben Kingsley makes a marvellous downtrodden Melies and Sacha Baron Cohen wrings laughs, and pathos, from his role.Hugo is a movie-loving marvel and a visual delight but might frustrate some audiences with little interest in early cinema.Extras: Not a one on the DVD (for shame) but the blu-ray scores some interesting featurettes on the major historical players from the film while you’ll also find a technical commentary (absent Scorsese, oddly) and a focus on the mechanical man.