Hugo – A badly written review.
In the eye of a crippled falcon, we see a metropolis covered in snow and dripping with vigor. We loom over an old fashioned yet futuristic train station – an alternate reality that I will love to call sentimental steam punk – before the camera weaves between the excitements and ennuis of several key characters. We finally reach our young protagonist that could use some acting classes, hiding behind a clock, his home. The camera zooms to capture a special moment, his countenance, a pitiful one which you will be seeing throughout the movie. Abruptly, the audiences’ empathy was interrupted as he races through the clockwork of the clock that he lives in, not to progress the story, but to boast the stunning vision of the cinematographers and our beloved director. Wearing an invisible leash to his neck that’s tied to the tracking camera, the child labor executes their agenda successfully.
These are the opening scenes of Hugo. Despite what the critics says and having 11 Oscars nominations, I struggled to be occupied with its painful 120 minutes.
For most parts, if not all, the film is alike with its protagonist, astray and helpless. To downplay its offense, it’s just a careless attempt to romanticize the film making industry; it’s well intended. But its good intentions are swept under the rag under the orchestra of Martin Scorcese, who brought to us contrasting and amazing films like Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas. If anything, I can only applaud his 5 seconds of cameo for being cute. And to have Marty, C3P0, and Chaplin to be in same film, you wonder if Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, the mercenaries of Hollywood, are once again plotting to de-evolutionize humanity. But no, it’s not a parody, it’s a real and self important film that takes itself seriously all the way to the Oscars.
The bad acting, absurb casting and feeble story are just some of its many vices. From the awkward confrontation between Ben Kingsley and Hugo to the pubescent semantics of Chloe Mortez, its dialogues cripples the film as well. In which, triggered me to search for the screenwriter that crafted this disaster. He is John Logan, who also wrote Gladiator, Aviator and Rango, which all are brilliant films with dialogues that will make one cringe in passion. On one hand we talented director, and on the other, a splendid screenwriter. So what made the imbroglio happen on screen? A conspiracy theorist would declare that this is a collaboration between Marty and Logan to sink their career not knowing how to profess that the flames to their love for films have long been extinguished.
But let’s not be labeled as cynics and pay some attention to many of its beautiful frames. Particularly on the chases between Sacha Cohen Baron, his dog and Hugo. Thrilling and cinematic isn’t it? Not! Well, maybe yes if not for the forced Borat quip in view of the actor, but so what? Movies aren’t montages and conversely. If it is, Woody Allen’s iconic montages would not just open his films but fill it entirely. A movie is a story and Hugo doesn’t have one to tell. It’s an intrinsically inert film praying to have its flaws covered by the production crew.
HugoHuge nutshell, imagine an epic tale written by a peanut butter enthusiast on an adventure of a young boy that slays dragon to collect their turd as an ingredient to create the ultimate can of peanut butter in honor of his dead father who was once a dragon slayer too and upon his conquest, he lives happily ever after with his merry friends that aided him to create the ultimate recipe. That is what Hugo is all about except that it’s written and directed by movie enthusiasts.