Oh well. I was kinda hoping Hugo wouldn’t make the new edition; not because I didn’t like it, but because I didn’t like it neeeearly as much as literally everyone else did. I thought it was very good, very well done and full of magic, and an excellent love letter to early cinema, appropriate seeing as Scorsese is one of the biggest cinephiles in Hollywood today. But still, that’s all I thought of it; everyone else, on the other hand, lauded this one to high heaven, gushing and squealing about it like gleeful Bieber fans. Like I said, I thought it was good, but not THAT good.
Still, there was a lot to like about Hugo. The cinematography, first off, is absolutely gorgeous; it always looks, and feels, alive, with energy to spare and a wonderful kinetic aptitude. Scorsese loves to illuminate his films when the occasion calls for it, and with a film like Hugo, the occasion is always there. The young child actors (Asa Butterfield, Chloe Grace Moretz) do a wonderful job; indeed, Moretz is becoming one of the most reliably excellent young actresses working today, and Ben Kingsley was a superb choice for the role of… well, I won’t spoil it for any other film lovers who haven’t seen this yet, but rest assured, you’ll know exactly who it is once it’s brought up. Another standout I was surprised with was Sacha Baron Cohen as the station inspector; he proves he can handle himself in just about any role, even if it’s not directly derogatory, and he did very well.
Now, with all the praise I give it, you may wonder why I don’t give the film a higher rating. Well, honestly, I didn’t realize just how much I liked Hugo until I was writing this review, but even still, I found the film to be another example of a cake that loads up on too much icing, without very much cake underneath. It was airy, almost porous, and it had a lot of fluff in the underworkings where there should have been solid structure instead. Granted, that all makes it incredibly sweet, and those with a soft spot for cinema will end up loving Hugo, but for some reason, I found myself mostly immune to the charms the film was trying to pull over on me, looking instead for a typically soundly built Scorsese film made out of solid oak, and finding something much lighter, like balsa wood, instead.
Arbitrary Rating: 8/10