Written by SR Staff Monday, 28 November 2011 04:28
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Most critics praise film's visuals and performances, although some take issue with its length.
By Eric Ditzian
Asa Butterfield in "Hugo"
Photo: Paramount Pictures
We're big "Hugo" fans here in the MTV Newsroom, as we make clear over at Movies Blog, calling Martin Scorsese's 3-D film a "love letter to cinema" and "like nothing you've ever seen from the Oscar-winning filmmaker before."
We're not the only ones raving about it. Critics are celebrating the movie's bold visual style and strong performances. The only issue anyone seems to have with "Hugo" is that there's just too much of it: The story — following the young orphan Hugo's (Asa Butterfield) adventures in a 1930s Parisian metro station, his battles with the station inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen) and his friendship with a girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) also living in the station who is being raised by film pioneer Georges Méliès (Ben Kingsley) — chugs forward too slowly before finally springing to life. Read on for those critiques and more in our "Hugo" review roundup.
The Story " 'Hugo' is the tale of a boy, one of fiction's sentimental orphans, and the world he invents, yet, unsurprisingly, its most heartfelt passages are about Méliès. The old filmmaker is as broken and in need of revival as the automaton, and while you can guess what happens, it's the getting there — how the clock is wound — that surprises and often delights. Waves of melancholy wash over the story and keep the treacle at bay, as do the spasms of broad comedy, much of it nimbly executed by Mr. Baron Cohen." — Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
< b>The Visuals " 'Hugo's' use of the third dimension is exceptionally well thought out and essential to the film's ability to make a children's vision of the world come to life. Making that world a Parisian one has also inspired 'Hugo's' visual team, led by production designer Dante Ferretti, and the film's numerous shots floating over the rooftops of Paris are always fantastic. As with the original novel, the wordless parts of 'Hugo,' including a masterful re-creation of a famous train wreck, are very much its strength." — Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
The Performances "Although he ultimately comes through with a winning performance, Butterfield, previously seen in 'Son of Rambow' and 'The Wolfman,' seems a bit stiff and uncertain in the early-going. ... By contrast, Moretz ('Kick-Ass,' 'Let Me In'), with her beaming warmth and great smile, is captivating as a girl who leaps at the chance for some adventure outside of books. Refusing to sentimentalize, Kingsley catches both the deeply submerged hurt and eventual pride of an artist long but not forever erased from history." — Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
The Finale "During 'Hugo's' final 20 minutes or so, when Scorsese mounts a lavish reenactment of those early days of the art form, the film truly comes to life, as the story's preoccupation with mechanics and logistical dot-connecting gives way to imagination, magic and swashes of lurid color. ... With the director so clearly in his element and so affectionately in control, 'Hugo' ends as a triumph, bursting with the poetry, verve and irrepressible love befitting a match made in movie heaven." — Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post
The Final Word "[T]he story — period details and mysteries notwithstanding — is too slight to support this length. It's an 80 minute bon bon struggling to break out of a two hour and ten minute souffle. Still, movie buffs, especially fans of early cinema history, will be transfixed by scenes in the latter acts — movie-making, as it was being invented. It's why Scorsese chose to make the film. It's where his heart truly is with this material. And it's no surprise that this corner of his wondrous little picture is where he chose to take a cameo, immortalizing himself in the history of the medium he grew up loving and mastering." — Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel
Article Source: "MTV"
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Most critics praise film's visuals and performances, although some take issue with its length. By Eric Ditzian Asa Butterfield in "Hugo" Photo: Paramount Pictures We're big "Hugo" fans here in...
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