I hadn’t read anything about this movie before I went. I just knew it was directed by Martin Scorsese and had Jude Law in it. I also remember it was rated really highly on ABC’s At the Movies. It was pretty funny because before I met up with some others from our movie group I actually sat down on the grass beneath the big screen on the corner of James and Lake in Northbridge and watched Jude Law get covered in animals on Sesame Street! I was amused at any rate. Super Grover as Ironman exercising static cling in a laundry was also quite funny. I’m sure watching Grover getting covered in flying socks might not be everybody’s idea of fun, but it worked for me.
Hugo was beautifully shot. Scenes and music gave the film a really strong and convincing atmosphere. The amount of attention given to smaller roles made the context in which the story was set very rich. Humour was well-used. I loved the use of 3D in this film. Some shots, like when the box from the armoire explodes in a flurry of papers, were visually stunning.
That said I felt it took a long time for the film to meander into its plot and when it did, I did not feel particularly emotionally engaged with the characters or the storyline, although I felt more connected to the film in the second half than the first.
Where does that leave me? I felt Hugo was beautiful and visually rich with a great sense of place and time. In that respect it was a work of art. But I did not identify with the characters or the story and that left me feeling removed from the story. I do actually wonder if this has anything to do with the 3D experience which adds an extra layer between me and the movie (the 3D glasses are really dark) because I found that I connected with Avatar a lot more when I saw it on a shitty little computer screen than when I saw the 3D version at the cinema. I had always assumed it was because the movie had been dubbed into Chinese and that this had changed my feeling towards the characters because of both word choice in the translation and the sound of the voice-over, but I am beginning to wonder if it was not also because of the whole 3D aspect. Maybe 3D messes with my emotions!
It was really good, but it left me feeling detached.