Unraveling An Ode to Cinema Through Hugo: A Review
“I like to imagine that the world is one big machine. You know, machines never have any extra parts. They have the exact number and type of parts they need. So, I figure if the entire world is a big machine, I have to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason, too.” (Hugo, 2011)
If you are a film enthusiast and in need of some kind of light, adventurous movie, with a hint of drama historical background, you might want to watch Hugo. Hugo is a film directed by well-known director Martin Scorsese, adapted from a book by Brian Selznick The Invention of Hugo Cabret. The screenwriter, John Logan, together with Graham King, Tim Headington, and Johnny Depp play roles in modifying the story and visuals so that Hugo was born as an extravagant movie that wrapped in an enchantment tale of childhood adventure. It was released in 2011 starring top-notch actors like Asa Butterfield, Chloe-Grace Moretz, and Helen McCrory.
Hugo reveals the story of Hugo (Asa Butterfield), an orphan child who lives within a huge clock in a train station. His uncle assigns him the duty of maintaining and repairing the station’s clocks since he enjoys tinkering with mechanical devices. Hugo is on a quest to repair his father’s legacy automaton, which he believes has a hidden message for him before his father died. Together with his only friend, Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moretz), they attempt to solve the mystery quest from the automaton which leads them to an interesting history of film.
The story goes a little long way with slow-paced flows at the first hour focusing on Hugo himself got caught after stealing a few parts from a toyshop in a train station into finally another narrative into the discovery of the real George Melies, the toyshop owner and one of the most believable inventors of motion pictures in the nineteenth century. To make it more distinct about setting in the early nineteenth century, Scorsese provides a slick and authentic Parisian city view with enormous cinematic graphics and visualizations as in the 1930s. The people in the background also give supporting details in costume like men wear long coats with side slash pockets and peak lapels, fedora hats and caps, high-rise pants, and bring a solid square suitcase. There are also men with formal double-breasted suits to show the occasion and an image of masculine working-class clothing. Meanwhile, women at that time generally wear Midi-length bias-cut dresses layered with a long coat, puff sleeves, belted waists, and round hats as accessories.
It has fair understandable dialogues that clearly depict the goal and intention with less rhetorical structure. The scenes move was organized enough yet in my point of view there are certain scenes that could drag down the movie, just as when Hugo got caught and his arrest attempt involved a chase between the station inspector, Maximillian dog, and Hugo himself that was too long and too exaggerated with overcrowded stations where it doesn’t seem like real-life stations would be that crowded, and how there’s a tiered cake as in wedding when it all takes place at a train station. Regardless, the performers have given their all to animate and bring life to the assigned role.
Hugo dealt insightfully with its cinematography, where the cinematographer choosing to shoot the film not only digitally but also in 3D. The bronze tone applied to each scene gives me a strong atmosphere and connection to that era. I think that they nailed the edits, moreover when the delusional part of Hugo dreamt about himself turning into a human-sized automaton that his body was filled with mechanical parts. One thing about film editing and shots that I noticed related to the quote is Hugo likes to imagine this world as one big machine, so there are several wide shots depict how big is the world that Hugo lives in which makes him dare to dream and work on it. Overall, I enjoyed the cinematography and don’t have any meaningful critiques of the sound or special effects.
Hugo was succeed in winning 5 out of 11 nominations for Academy Awards 2012 including Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Visual Effects. These victories prove that Hugo is an ode to cinema that absolutely worth every minute to watch. Even though its adapted from children’s literature and is rated PG, doesn’t mean that its only suitable for kids to watch it. It’s a warm and inspiring movie that could fill up your movie fam time schedule without need to be worry about any undesirable scenes. Hugo is a film full of hope, dedication, and a love letter to filmmaking.