In short, Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of The Invention of Hugo Cabret is likely to go down in history as one of the best films of recent years and the best 3D film of all time.
The film tells of Hugo (Asa Butterfield) , an orphan who lives in the walls of a railway station, secretly keeping the clocks in order.
A run-in with toyseller ‘Papa Georges’ (Sir Ben Kingsley) takes Hugo on an adventure in which he and friend Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz) discover the unkindly old man is in fact cinema and special effects pioneer Georges Méliès.
The station is home to a collection of fantastically realised characters including lovesick Inspector Gustav (Sacha Baron Cohen in his least annoying performance to date) and newspaper vendor Monsieur Frick (Richard Griffiths), whose attempts to get friendly with cafe owner Madame Emile (Frances de la Tour), are hampered by her aggressive dog.
Though these characters help enrich the film’s, everything hangs on the performances and interplay between Kingsley, Butterfield and Moretz.
The young actors deliver perfectly timed performances which are enhanced, but never overshadowed, by a brilliantly calibrated turn by Kingsley.
In a film about the genius of a cinema pioneer, Scorsese amply demonstrates his own by using the fad of 3D to enhance his film.
I’m normally not a fan of 3D. It tends to slow the pace of films merely for superfluous ‘look at me’ shots, but Scorsese makes the 3D elements such an integral part of Hugo that it’s impossible to imagine the film without them.
Hugo is a very traditional, thoroughly enjoyable family film which delivers on every level.
Our verdict: 5/5