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PARAMOUNT

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Martin Scorsese
Cast:
Asa Butterfield, Chloe Grace Moretz, Ben Kingsley
Writing Credits:
John Logan

Synopsis:
In Paris in 1931, an orphan named Hugo Cabret who lives in the walls of a train station is wrapped up in a mystery involving his late father and an automaton.

Box Office: .
Opening Weekend
$11,364,505 on 1277 Screens.
Domestic Gross
$73,864,507.

MPAA:
Rated PG

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
French Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Portuguese Dolby 5.1
English Audio Description
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Portuguese
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Portuguese

Runtime: 126 min.
Price: $9.99
Release Date: 2/28/2012

Bonus:
• “Shoot the Moon” Featurette
• “The Cinemagician” Featurette
• “The Mechanical Man at the Heart of Hugo” Featurette
• “Big Effects, Small Scale” Featurette
• “Role of a Lifetime” Featurette


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RELATED REVIEWS


Hugo [Blu-Ray] (2011)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 29, 2018)

Martin Scorsese embraces his inner Spielberg with 2011’s Hugo. Set in 1931, orphaned adolescent Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) leads a meager existence without adult supervision, as he lives alone in a Parisian train station.

Hugo owns a broken automaton, a last connection to his late father (Jude Law). Along with the assistance of shopkeeper’s goddaughter Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz), Hugo attempts to locate a key he believes will revive the mechanical man – and deliver a special message from his deceased daddy.

As I implied at the start, Hugo doesn’t bring us a story that screams “Scorsese”. As also indicated, this smells a whole lot more like something the director’s peer Steven Spielberg would make.

To me, the big question became whether or not Scorsese could muster the magic, warmth and whimsy a project like Hugo requires. Those don’t seem to be sentiments we attach to Scorsese, so I entered the film with skepticism.

Still, a stellar career earned Scorsese the benefit of the doubt, and the movie’s consistently strong reviews worked to interest me. Heck, Hugo even managed an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, a high honor for a tale of this sort.

I’ve now seen Hugo twice, and I must admit I don’t quite get all the praise. Aspects of the film work fairly well, but the end result feels slow and inconsistent.

Some of the problems stem from the story’s uncertain focus. During its first act, Hugo plays like an alternate form of Oliver Twist, an orphan’s tale of survival. We focus on the title character and his attempts to pursue his goals.

However, as the movie progresses, it shifts fairly radically and becomes much more about the shopkeeper, one Georges Méliès (Ben Kingsley). Film buffs will know Méliès as the man who created some of cinema’s most famous early efforts in the early 1900s, and Hugo brings across a fictionalized version of the filmmaker.

When the tale focuses more on Méliès, Scorsese goes into pedantic mode and essentially turns Hugo into a lesson on the history of cinema. This sounds better on paper than in reality, as the change feels jarring and disconnected from the overall narrative.

The script of Hugo remains the main culprit here, as it feels long on plot points but short on real narrative movement and magic. The movie proceeds from one semi-isolated scenario to another without great connection and fails to integrate the pieces in a wholly satisfying manner.

I also feel Scorsese was the wrong man for this job, as he simply doesn’t demonstrate the nimble touch needed for this kind of fable. Scorsese creates a meticulously crafted world but not one that becomes especially engaging, so the situations and characters rarely earn our investment.

I don’t want to come down too hard on Hugo, as I don’t think it ever turns into a bad film. I just feel it lacks the vivacity and charm it aspires to present, factors that make it slow and without great dimensionality. It’s a great-looking effort but not one with a lot of warmth or humanity.


The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B+/ Bonus C

Hugo appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Expect a terrific presentation here.

Overall sharpness looked strong. A smidgen of softness crept into a couple of wider shots, but those instances were infrequent. Instead, the majority of the image was tight and concise.

I noticed no shimmering or jaggies, and edge haloes remained absent. As expect, the movie lacked print flaws or any form of defects.

In a world of orange and teal palettes, Hugo offered one of the orange and tealest. As a personal preference, I disliked this choice, but I couldn’t fault the Blu-ray, as it reproduced the hues with nice punch and range.

Blacks appeared deep and dark, and shadows showed nice clarity. Across the board, the image satisfied.

I also liked the pretty good DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack of Hugo. Actually, the film’s audio during its first act was a little more subdued than expected, but the soundscape kicked into higher gear as the movie progressed.

With a wide variety of action sequences, the mix managed to deliver a higher level of engulfing material. In particular, elements at the train station – including a massive crash - tended to give us a broad, impactful auditory experience.

Music seemed warm and dynamic, with good kick. Effects followed suit, as those elements contributed accurate, vivid material.

Speech was always natural and distinctive. Though it started out a bit slowly, the track ended up as a real winner.

In terms of extras, Hugo comes with five featurettes, and we start with Shoot the Moon: The Making of Hugo. It runs 19 minutes, 48 seconds and offers notes from director Martin Scorsese, producer Graham King, author Brian Selznick, screenwriter John Logan, animal trainer Mathilde De Cagny, visual effects supervisor Robert Legato, production designer Dante Ferretti, and actors Chloe Grace Moretz, Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, Frances de la Tour, Christopher Lee, Sacha Baron Cohen.

“Moon” looks at the project’s roots and development, story, characters and the adaptation of the source, cast and performances, animals on the set, shooting 3D, and set design. “Moon” offers a brisk and fairly engaging little overview of these topics.

Next comes The Cinemagician, a 15-minute, 41-second show with Scorsese, Selznick, King, Kingsley, Moretz, Georges Méliès’s great-great-granddaughter Pauline Duclaud-Lacoste, film restorer/collector Serge Bromberg, and AMPAS Director of Educational Programs and Special Projects Randy Haberkamp.

“Cinemagician” offers a quick look at the life and career of Georges Méliès as well as Hugo’s take on the man’s films. While not a deep biography, it brings a decent summary that helps us view the facts behind Hugo’s fiction.

The Mechanical Man at the Heart of Hugo goes for 12 minutes, 45 seconds and features Scorsese, King, Butterfield, Moretz, Haberkamp, Kingsley, automaton makers Thomas King and Dug North and automaton manufacturer Dick George. “Heart” views the history of automata as well as the design/creation of the one in Hugo. This turns into another fairly informative show.

During the five-minute, 55-second Big Effects, Small Scale, we hear from visual effects supervisor/2nd unit director Rob Legato, miniatures crew chief Forest Fischer, model maker Patrick Dunn-Baker, visual effects supervisor Matthew Gratzner, and mechanical effects supervisor Scott Beverly.

“Scale” shows us the physical effects used to create the movie’s train crash sequence. It becomes a short but solid program, one that works better due to ample footage from the set.

Finally, Sacha Baron Cohen: Role of a Lifetime fills three minutes, 33 seconds and gives us comments from Kingsley, Cohen, King, Scorsese, and Butterfield. “Role” tells us how insubordinate and arrogant Cohen was on the set. Of course, it’s all a joke – and a reasonably amusing one, as it wraps up quickly enough to ensure the gag doesn’t become stale.

A departure for Martin Scorsese, Hugo finds the director uncomfortable in its genre. While the movie boasts sumptuous production values, it lacks a coherent story and it seems too slow and disjointed. The Blu-ray brings excellent picture and very good audio along with a decent selection of supplements. As much as I want to invest in Hugo, the end result leaves me cold.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.75 Stars Number of Votes: 4
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