Capsule Review: Hugo – a film by Martin Scorcese

My thoughts on this film revolve around the marketing of it. For someone who rails constantly against the “new-fangled” commercialism of film criticism and the emphasis on numbers and placement of advertising, this is extraordinary.
Imagine my excitement, as a bona-fide “film nerd” and one who has used the man in the moon shot of the spaceship through the eye of the moon-man as a central graphic for my blog, “6 Degrees of Film”, upon hearing that Scorcese was doing a movie about George Melies!
Well, I do agree with the critics that say that the photography is wonderful. It is a children’s film not necessarily for a child. It is a film for film buffs, but not that I can tell, any other type of viewing audience. These days, where people are looking for “the next new thing” with Avatar and many wonderful independent film-makers turning out small gems, this film doesn’t feel like it really has a target audience.
There is a justifiable criticism that I’ve read that states that once the “secret” is out, about half-way through the movie, then the rest of the film leaves you squirming at times in your seat.
There is nothing inherently wrong with the overall concept of this film. It does feel like a homage that is perhaps thirty years? too late to be relevant. George Melies was a pioneer in the art of film-making and perhaps a documentary that gave him much needed credit for his work is justified.
But a full-length motion picture with a plot straight out of Disney a la 1962 would not be my first choice.

Published by

MLJ

Author of "6 Degrees of Film: The Future of Film in the Global Village", Ms. Johnson continues to blog on film and publishes a newsletter plus the Flipboard magazine 6 Degrees of Film @ the Movies. Her book is currently available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Degrees-Film-Future-Global-Village/

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