“Hugo” Review

Madison McDaniel, Online Editor-in-Chief

    Martin Scorsese has hit the big screen once again. Yet, unlike Departed, Goodfellas and Shutter Island, the director of these dark movies has created in his latest movie Hugo a magical world of imagination and wonder for the younger generation.
    The story takes place in the late 1930s and is set in France. The main character, Hugo (played by Asa Butterfield), is a recently orphaned boy who has been left with nothing but one goal: to fix the only thing that gives him the drive to live. Reduced to poverty and theft, Hugo scrapes up enough bolts and tools to fix an old machine, called the “automaton” that he and his dad (played by Jude Law) worked on before his abrupt death. Although his dad explained its function, it’s the mystery of what the machine will reveal to him that allows Hugo to feel like a piece of his dad still remains.
    The overall storyline of the movie has a wholesome and whimsical theme, yet a serious underlying tone which is emphasized by the dimensional characters, allowing both kids and adults to enjoy it. Even though the plot is simple, the depth of the characters is what sets this family movie apart from others. Unlike typical children’s movies, Hugo is not chalk full of cliché lines and tasteless double innuendos added for the older viewers’ so-called benefit. The script, along with other details of the film, is well developed. The main characters, Hugo and Isabelle, aren’t portrayed as ignorant and reckless children, but as sincere and undaunted. Scorsese brings them to life with their relatable backgrounds as two kids trying to figure out their purpose in life. This underlying theme not only targets young children but adults as well; making it something everyone can relate to.
    From the first glimpse of the movie, the audience will be able to tell that the special effects and design were going to be flawless. Scorsese created an almost animated quality so that that the scenery and characters looked luminescent and child-like. This makes the experience of the movie appealing to the eye and contributes to the theme of a children’s movie. The plot’s incorporation of the early film industry introduces the audience to a whole new outlook on the production of movies in the 1930s. Despite the classic stereotype of black and white and mute movies of the early century, the movie captivates a different side to film production that viewers weren’t familiar with before. Scorsese uses different angle and manipulates modern special effects to capture the raw footage and mechanics of the movie magic.
   Simple. Refreshing. Dark. Enchanting. Hugo was a stand-out movie of 2011 that will leave kids glued to the screen and adults transfixed by its surprising success. But it’s the addition of the genuine acting that really transforms Hugo from an ordinary movie into one that will make the audience fall in love with film all over again.