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Movie Review: Hugo (English) 154

At the Academy awards this February, Hugo had 11 nominations (most for that evening) and five wins, including art, cinematography, visual effects and sound. The first scene where the camera swoops over Paris, a train station & to the boy in the clock is in itself spellbinding. But behold, it’s not just about special effects and 3D, the story has a heart too, told in with a fairy-tale charm from 1930’s Paris.

Hugo Cabret is a young orphaned boy living with his uncle who winds clocks at Montparnasse station in Paris. As long as the clocks work, nobody notices him, but Hugo has to constantly escape the watchful eye of the station inspector Gustave.

In the vast maze of clocks, Hugo hides a broken automaton, which he believes carries a message from his deceased father. To fix it, he steals parts from a toy shop owned by Papa Georges till he gets caught one day. But thereafter, things change between them as Hugo starts to work for Georges and befriends his goddaughter Isabelle who is about Hugo’s age. The rest of the tale is better left to be watched on screen.

The film is somewhat based on the real life of yesteryear French film maker Georges Méliès who made around 400 movies. During the WW-II, his studio went into losses and Méliès had destroyed most of his prints in despair while some of the negatives were melted down to recover celluloid and silver. Sadly, only a few of those films remain! As in the film, he spent his later years on meager income from toy store.

The film has some moments that seem unreal, like the automatons; but those actually exist in real life. And then there are repeated shots of the rocket hitting the moon in the eye which is from the silent film “Le Voyage dans la Lune” meaning “A Voyage to the Moon” in a surreal style. Méliès can be considered a pioneer in science fiction movies, although they have a lot to do with fantasy, but nevertheless path breaking!

Among actors, Ben Kingsley as Georges Méliès is touching, other performances are worthy too. Sacha Baron Cohen as the Station Master is probably the best of the rest with Asa Butterfield as Hugo and Chloë Grace Moretz as Isabelle do well. Although titled ‘Hugo’ the film has more about Méliès than about Hugo.

On the whole, ‘Hugo’ comes across as a well made film on all quarters. Remember, it’s been directed by the acclaimed Martin Scorsese. The film was a worthy Oscar nominee for other categories such as Best Picture, Director, Adapted screenplay, costume, score & editing but bagged no acting nominations.

Although in 3D, this isn’t a movie with action figures flying in your way. Told more like a fairy-tale, it goes on at its own slow pace as it takes you through the characters’ minds and situations. There are times when one finds like a fantasy movie too. So, if you love movies, this one is absolutely worth your time. Go for it!

Rating 8/10: A poignant tale worthy of a dream bordering on fantasy! 
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