Ceramics and Architecture
In the past week I’ve overheard several small children imploring their parents ‘can we go and see Hugo?’ and I really hope the answer the parent gave was ‘no’, or they will have wasted their time and money.
Firstly, Hugo is NOT a film for children it is – like Leon or Kick-Ass – a film about children.
Secondly, Hugo has no clear theme, and doesn’t achieve anything but confusion and boredom. It’s sort of an homage to early cinema, with the most successful scenes being reimaginings of the earliest films such A Trip To The Moon. Unfortunately it also has that cloying American sentimentality and an overarching message about self acceptance. Ugh. Towards the end there’s almost a post-modern moment where it is declared ‘you only get a happy ending in the movies’* and you hope a tram will suddenly come around the corner and put the actors out of their misery, but no, there’s another ten minutes to go.
Thirdly, there are many, many scenes where the two child leads are together, alone. These young actors simply do not have the skills to deliver the lines, and there’s a lot of eyebrow wiggling and wide-eyed blinking. At one point Hugo even has smudges of dirt all over his face, for that uber-urchin look. Tres chic.
Fourthly, WHAT is Ben Kingsley’s agent thinking, letting him do this level of crap?! He plays George Melies, in a historical miscasting not seen since David Bowie played Nicholas Tesla. In fact, what is Richard Griffiths doing in this, for a weird mostly silent semi-cameo, with the delightful Frances de la Tour also under represented? And Christopher Lee gets his scene cut! Unbelievable!
Fifthly, how many films does Sacha Baron Cohen have to save** before he wins a supporting actor Oscar? He is the best thing in this drivel by a country mile.
Sixthly, the film is very definitely set in Paris. The first shots establish poor urchin Hugo in a clock tower, looking at the EIFFEL TOWER, so it’s a mystery why the dialogue is spoken with an English accent. An English accent that Chloe Moretz cannot speak.
Seventhly, WHY OH WHY OH WHY does Jude Law ever get cast as a loving father? He’s so unconvincing, all that grinny-sparkly-youthful gadding about that he does. ARGH!
My advice is go and rent A.I. instead, and my convincing argument is;
This film is so bad I’m actually recommending A.I. as a better alternative, that should tell you something.
ALSO, I am a big fan of films set in train stations. There is a long tradition of using the station as a metaphor for transience, the mechanical, glamour, movement, anonymity, well I could go on and on. This is a TERRIBLE use of a station as a set; it’s as if Scorcese just doesn’t know anything about film history. Hugo lives in the station, but he may as well live in a factory, or in a library, or in a cow shed, or a mall, there is nothing conveyed in the use of the train station but discomfort and a roof. We rarely see anyone getting on a train, in fact Cohen’s character even describes the station at one point as being a place to ‘eat, shop and work’. WHY!!??!??!?!?! WHY HAS THIS HAPPENED?!?!??!?! THIS FILM IS SO TERRIBLE!!!!!
* all the characters speak in an English accent, but refer to films as ‘movies‘. It’s not only a few times, either; they go on and on about how much they love movies, how they never got to go to the movies, how their dad used to take them to the movies. ARGH!
** two so far; this and Sweeney Todd