Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hugo (2011)

Set in 1930s Paris, an orphan who lives in the walls of a train station is wrapped up in a mystery involving his late father and an automaton. [imdb]

Nominated for 11 Oscars:

Best Picture
Best Director: Martin Scorsese
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Cinematography (WINNER)
Best Original Score
Best Art Direction (WINNER)
Best Costume Design
Best Editing
Best Sound Mixing (WINNER)
Best Sound Editing (WINNER)
Best Visual Effects (WINNER)

The most outrageous loss on Oscar night was The Tree of Life not winning Best Cinematography. It wasn't hard to anticipate, but it still broke my heart. It lost to Hugo, a film I had seen that exact week, a film Oscar voters liked enough to throw in some technical wins, but not enough to give it any of the big prizes. I do not love Hugo, but I can't really argue with some technical elements.

The main reason I don't love this film is by far the screenplay; the fact that the writing was nominated makes me sad and I'm surprised to say the least: the story is weak, not very interesting and with little motivation behind the characters. It often fells flat and ends every storyline on a disappointing note. On the negative side I'd also add the booooring performance of Miss Moretz - no performance stands out for me, I thought Ben Kingsley was fine, so was the leading star Asa Butterfield, but Miss Moretz was just annoying.

The film is well directed, but it was hard to get over the superficial glow of the writing. The Cinematography was ok, though Robert Richardson is becoming a one-trick ponny with the blue-light and blue-green-colors that he's already used at least in The Aviator and Inglourious Basterds; and I'm getting tired of it. The best element of the film has to be the fantastic art direction, with impressive and very creative sets.

My rating for the film: 7/10. It didn't feel magic to me.


  1. Did you see it on big screen? Just curious, I can't decide if I need it myself. :/

  2. No, i saw it on small screen, but good quality. Anyway, I never see 3D, so it wouldn't have made THAT much of a difference.

    As I said, my problem is with the screenplay, not the technical aspects

  3. Spot on review, Alex.

    It's a well made movie, and it's difficult to argue with the thesis of film preservation, but I just couldn't love it.