Hugo (2011) Review

I watched this some time ago.  I’ve never read the children’s book this movie is based on, and I didn’t really know what to expect since all the summaries and trailers I read/watched prior to going to see this film were incredibly vague.  (I’m sure that’s a different story now.)  Without the usual background knowledge I have walking into a movie, I was a little disoriented at first because I was trying to figure out what exactly the message of the movie was.  Once I started to grasp it though, I really fell in love with it.

To all regular movie-goers and lovers of film, this one is for you.  For someone who loves film as much as I do, this one actually touched my heart a little bit.  In fact, I definitely teared up at certain points of the film.

Since it’s been quite some time since this movie first came out and my being able to finally get around to reviewing this, I’m going to skip the spoilers like I usually do when this is the case.  I was going to write about this before my review for Sherlock Holmes 2: A Game of Shadows and We Bought a Zoo, but after just having watched The Artist today, I thought it would be appropriate to lead into that review by reviewing this one just before it.

One thing I really like about this movie, is that if you’re like me and you have not read the book and have no clue what the story is going to be about, then the opening sequence definitely keeps you guessing.  While this may frustrate some viewers, I actually enjoyed the anticipation.  It was like watching an interactive picture book.

Another thing I would like to comment on is the 3D effects.  Very, very rarely have I seen great use of 3D technology in movies.  I believe I’ve mentioned at some point or another in previous entries that the best 3D effects I’ve ever seen was my experience at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, where they have strong enough projectors for the jelly fish to come right out to your face and float over people’s heads, or James Cameron’s Avatar (2009), which was shot with the intent on making a quality three-dimensional experience.  Hugo has now become the third movie I have seen where paying the extra money for 3D was worth it.

Aside from the special effects, I also thoroughly enjoyed the story.  A theme that will seem familiar in The Artist, part of Hugo‘s two-part story is about a filmmaker who has become embittered by how much time has changed what people expect out of films, and the role little Hugo plays in healing the heart of this man who has become forgotten in the world of flashy movies with their color, sound, and advanced special effects.  After watching The Artist, I also find that I have an even deeper appreciation for this film because of the subtle message the movie has which seems to say you don’t always need all of the flash and special effects to make a solid and classic film. 

Hugo is definitely a tribute to the way films used to be made, and the other side of the story is also a heartwarming one about how a child copes with the loss of a beloved parent and his drive to survive on his own.  I found it to be a very touching tale that I would love to watch again in the future.  It may be due to my feminine side, but there were also definitely moments where I just wanted to leap into the screen and give the character of Hugo a big hug.

That all being said, onward to the review.

Originality: ****
Picture: *****
Sound: ****
Story: *****
Casting: *****
Re-watch Factor: ****
Overall: ****

FINAL VERDICT: A-

I loved this film.  Though long, I couldn’t help but smile once I got to the ending because the nod it gave film-lovers was something I could relate to.  Oddly enough though, the jury is still out as to whether or not I’d actually purchase it.  I don’t doubt that I’d love to rewatch the film again, but there seems to be something very slightly lacking that I can’t totally put my finger on that prevents me from actually adding it to my shelf.  For that same reason, as much as I want to give this an A rating, I am not sure if the majority would consider this a potential classic, so I will be on the safe side and leave the rating at A-.  I wonder if it’s because the story seems a little disjointed at times.  Regardless, if you can still catch it in theaters, I definitely recommend doing so and watching it in 3D.


Well, looks like I’m on a bit of a roll tonight, and I think I may have time for one more entry, so I’m going to review my experience with The Artist next; and let me tell you, from seeing that it has only earned $0.29 million at the box office, I must say this is probably one of the most under-appreciated films ever.

See you all in a bit!

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