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HUGO Scorsese - Melies (Read 2744 times)
Dec 11th, 2011 at 5:27pm

L.A. Connection   Offline
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SF Rocks

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  Scorsese's 3D film is an odd curio. More of interest to Critics and hardcore cineastes than to the general public (even if it's being sold as a Family film), this is a pretty schizo production.

  On one hand, it is a family film in that it's about a kid who lives out an almost Dickens-like existence as an orphan who secretly keeps the clocks running on time at a Paris train station. Adventures ensue including trying to keep hidden from the dastardly train cop (played by Sasha B.Cohen in an extremely poor decision by Scorsese - Borat doing what seems like a high school play version of Monty Python skit). He also inherits an automaton which his father (Jude Law - an A.I. touch?) left him.

  On the other, it's about the first great Special Effects heavy director - Georges Melies.

  Martin (GOODFELLAS-RAGING BULL-Film Historian) Scorsese. Hmmm. Which story do you think appealed to him more - the kids film or Melies?? The kidstuff is pretty routine, but HUGO lights up when it turns to Melies - particularly the loving recreations of some of the French auteur's work including Marathon classic A TRIP TO THE MOON. The only drawback in this section of the film is that Ben Kingsley may be a great actor, but he's just too dour for the role. What should be a triumphant rediscovery comes off as far more bittersweet than Scorsese and his writers surely intended. My other quibble is that when animating the automaton and a wind-up mouse, there is obvious CGI at work. For a film with a reported $170M budget (and up) and with its attention to period detail, you'd think they could have just build practical props rather than resorting to computer gimmicks.

  I enjoyed the film with the reservations noted (of course, I'm a former film critic and a cineaste), but I'm curious what children and non-hardcore film fans make of the storyline. The 3D has been much praised. On a technical level it's fine. But, I still find even the best 3D to be a distraction. The much vaunted opening sequence is showy for sure, but the actual people look like figures in a Pop Up book. At times, I just closed one eye and watched pieces in good old fashioned
2
D. And, the images have pretty good depth without looking like someone is foisting foreground objects in your eyes.

A TRIP TO THE MOON online (if we can get the new restoration for the marathon, that would be great):

http://www.archive.org/details/TripToTheMoon_304
 
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Reply #1 - Dec 14th, 2011 at 1:39pm

Jon   Offline
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Well, as Bob Hope used to croon, "Thanks for the Memories."
Smiley
 
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