Ever since his father died, Hugo has been living together with his uncle in the train station in Paris where they keep all the clocks running. After his uncle left to never return, Hugo kept doing the work so that nobody would realise his uncle was gone and he would be able to continue working on an automaton his father one day brought home. Hugo is convinced the automaton contains a secret message from his father and has been gathering parts to make it work again.
One day he gets caught trying to snatch some parts from the local shopkeeper Georges Méliès. Although reluctant in helping Hugo at first, Méliès allows Hugo to work for him and help fix broken toys in exchange for giving the boy the opportunity to gather more parts. As such, Hugo also meets Isabelle, Méliès’ god-daughter, who finds that there’s something strange in Méliès behaviour whenever the automaton becomes the subject of a discussion. The two decide to find out what exactly is the secret behind the mechanical man…
Sound and Vision:
If there’s one thing you can say about Hugo, it’s that it looks fantastic. Even in 2D, the transfer looks as if it would pop out of your screen and the images Scorsese puts forward are just screaming “beautiful” from the first second until the last minute.
Flesh tones remain stable, black levels are deep and inky, the level of detail is very high and colors are warm and vibrant. If there’s one Blu-ray that’s demo-material, it’s without a doubt Hugo.
We also get a treat when it comes to the sound department with a DTS-HD 7.1 track that just blows us away with an extreme level of detail, clarity and precision. This isn’t an action movie, but Scorsese perfectly uses all channels at a constant rate to recreate the atmosphere in a train station with plenty of background noises while dialogues are perfectly positioned and music completely wraps the viewer into the experience. Excellent!
- Shoot the Moon: The Making of ‘Hugo’
- The Cinemagician: Georges Melies
- Big Effects, Small Scale
- The Mechanical Man at the Heart of ‘Hugo’
- Sacha Baron Cohen: Role of a Lifetime
The first feature is a pretty standard behind the scenes extra, and Cohen’s spoof isn’t all too interesting either, but the others are definitely worth checking out as they provide some information on the history of automatons, the recreation of the train crash which is based on an actual event, and some historic info on the real George Méliès.
Hugo received several Oscars and one can see why. The music is excellent, the images are equally stunning and Scorsese pays a true hommage to the art of film making. Unfortunately, as a movie, I personally found it to be falling a bit short.
Yes, it all looks and sounds stunning, but the main storyline is a bit thin and the side stories actually seem to be little more than additional filling to make sure the movie can make its 120 minutes. Scorsese is a master of the art, but in the end I found things to be a bit too melancholic to be truly impressed.
Still, when it comes to Blu-ray releases Hugo is without a doubt a must-have if you want to show off your home system, and the movie isn’t really bad. It just lacks some real tension.