I was delighted to see Scorsese was making a family film, but as with fellow Icon Steven Spielberg's recent Tin-Tin was apprehensive to learn it would be in 3D. The results however were spectacular; Scorsese has brought his mastery to the art of 3D with the magical Hugo. Set in 1930's Paris, Hugo is the spellbinding tale of newly orphaned Hugo Cabaret (Asa Butterfield). The death of his clockmaker father leads him to live with his alcoholic uncle, a live-in caretaker of clocks at a Parisian railway station. His only possession, a mechanical man (automon) left by his father, leads to a 'chance' meeting with station toy salesman Georges Melies (Ben Kingsley) and his god daughter Isabelle (Chloe Grace Mortez). The mystery of the Automon takes them all on an adventure of discovery.
Aside from illuminating cast, the real stars of this picture are Scorsese's production team. For they have been his loyal subjects for many decades, as long as 33 years in the case of editor Thelma Schoonmaker (Raging Bull). Thelma has acted as critical censor for Scorsese's vision during many of his finest works, this relationship continues with her cut of Hugo. Along with cinematographer, Robert Richardson (Inglorious Bastards), Thelma tells a powerful visual story that compliments the labyrinth-like narrative perfectly. They are also able to pay homage to the pioneers of their craft with an incredible remake of some original moving pictures. It should be noted that Scorsese entered into his first 3D film with the same mentality he has for last 40years, he stuck with a crew he loves despite their apparent lack of experience in the format, a commendable leap of faith for all involved.
I'm beginning to realise that I might have been a bit harsh on the recent 3D resurgence. I was positioning my prejudice on a life time of 2D cinema, a format that I love passionately. To me the 3D film has always been somewhat of a gimmick, but as film makers like Scorsese adapt to the technology, develop techniques and push the boundaries, it's fast become an outlet for exceptional creativity. As much as I despise the capitalist elements to Hollywood, in this digital age I understand the pressures major film studios are under, a pressured to respond to the times, especially during economic turmoil. Films are complex beasts to construct; each one is essentially a small business selling a single product, a product for which the customer dictates the demand. If your product is rubbish (or even perceived by the majority to be) the customer will ensure that it fails. So when the producers (CEO's) are calculating the thousands of factors involved in running their businesses, they now must look directly at their competition and ask - Are they doing it in 3D? - S**t, maybe we should too.
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