Starring: Asa Butterfield, Chloe Grace Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Emily Mortimer, Christopher Lee
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Written by: John Logan, Brian Selznick
Runtime: 126 Minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: February 28, 2012
HTS Overall Score:94
During the winter of 1931 in Paris, France, Hugo Cabret (Butterfield) spends his time making sure that all the clocks in a large train station are in perfect working order. The clock maintenance was his father's job until he unexpectedly passed away, leaving Hugo to tend to it for himself. Despite the death and absence of his father, no one seemed the wiser, so Hugo decides to secretively take his place. Day in and day out Hugo must venture through the labyrinth inside the walls of the train station in order to make his way to each clock to maintain them. Utilizing air ducts and small passages, he also knows he must stay hidden from the chief station inspector (Cohen), who seems to have a knack for seeking out the orphaned children wandering the station.
After his father's death, Hugo was left with nothing, except for a broken mechanical doll, called an automaton, and a journal filled with diagrams to put the doll back together. Hugo is certain that the automaton has a hidden message left for him by his father before he died. In order to mend the automaton he steals toys from the Station's Toy Shop, owned by Papa Georges (Kingsley). With those toys, Hugo disassembles them in order to find the proper pieces to make the automaton whole again. On a routine outing to acquire a toy, he is apprehended by Papa Georges and Georges takes Hugo's journal. Devastated, Hugo tries so desperately to retrieve his notebook and even follows Papa Georges back to his home pleading for its return.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=8562[/img]Curiously, Georges' god daughter, Isabelle (Moretz), decides to aid Hugo in his quest to get his journal back from Papa Georges. Georges finally agrees that if Hugo assists him at the toy shop, he can earn his diary back. As he works as the toy shop assistant he manages his free time continuing to fix the automaton as best as he can. As Hugo grows closer to Isabelle they start to unravel a mysterious past that Georges has kept hidden for many years. This past that has all but been forgotten puts burden and hardship on Georges as he tries so desperately to forget what had happened.
The adventurous tale of 'Hugo' is based on the novel of the same title written by Brian Selznick. I had not heard of the novel, nor did I even know much about the film when I started watching it. The only knowledge I had of this film was the title and that it was nominated for eleven Academy Awards this year. Even for the first act of the movie I wasn't quite sure what I was to expect, but I was still completely fascinated by where the story was taking me. As the storyline unravels I found myself more and more enamored by the overall magic. Scorsese has done a marvelous job at recreating this fictional tale and made it an absolute inspiration to watch. A part of me wishes I had the chance to watch this during its theatrical run, but another part of me is glad to have experienced this on blu-ray.
Rated PG for mild thematic material, some action/peril and smoking
Paramount has put out some amazing-looking titles this year and 'Hugo' is most certainly no exception to that statement. The fantastic world created in this movie is given additional flair from this exquisite video transfer. The dimensionality of the film is off the chart and while I did not watch this in 3D, the image still managed to separate itself from the screen. Visual detail is remarkable and especially noticeable in the wrinkles and imperfections of the more-seasoned actors on the screen. The on-screen imagery is so busy at times that it is surprising the resolution manages to keep up and never lets down on the detail; this is especially apparent when looking at the intricacies of the clocks and other mechanical devices used throughout the film. Colors also add to the three-dimensional look of the film. Hugo's eyes are a mesmerizing blue color and clothing saturation are astounding. Even with the vibrancy, detail is not lost within those deeply saturated colors.
I am happy to report that the audio fares just as well as the video. While there aren't many opportunities for loud and boisterous effects in this film the 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio still manages to be a joyous experience. I mentioned in the video review that the film is so busy at times, and similarly to the video, the audio captures all the hustle and bustle perfectly. As Hugo makes his way through the labyrinth in the train station, noises constantly barrage the ears with clanking, clinking, hissing, and whirring. All these noises also are portrayed in spatial realism, further immersing the audience into the magic of the film.
• "Shoot the Moon: The Making of Hugo" Featurette
• "The Cinemagician: Georges Melies" Featurette
• "Big Effects Small Scale" Featurette
• "The Mechanical Man at the Heart of 'Hugo'" Featurette
• "Sacha Baron Cohen: Role of a Lifetime" Featurette
'Hugo' is a magical film that is based in realism. There is so much fantasy mixed into the film that made it so easy to be taken out of my reality into the world on screen. The Oscar nominations for this film are well-deserved and what makes this movie sets this movie apart from the rest is the fact that doesn't use conventional Hollywood hooks, like sex, huge explosions, foul language to capture the audience. Each actor (and surprisingly even Sacha Baron Cohen) all seem to capture the magic that Scorsese attempts to portray through this film. With a video and audio transfer that does this film justice I am even glad that I watched this film on blu-ray instead of in the theaters. With all that this movie has going for it I certainly have no hesitation on recommending this film to everyone.
Recommendation: Buy It!
Official Blu-Ray Reviews Scoring