Hugo is set in 1930s Paris, France and follows the adventures of an orphaned young boy, Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) as he winds his way through the walls of the central train station fixing and maintaining the station clocks. The opening sequence of the boy traveling through the towers is jaw-dropping.
Hugo is a fictional tale very loosely based on the life of extraordinary film pioneer, George Melies (Ben Kingsley). Although some of the "facts" they mention in the film are inaccurate, it's still a lovely story with a great message, and they do nicely tie up most of the ends.
It serves the story to portray Melies in his later years in the depths of depression due to the loss of his exceptional films and perhaps there's some truth to that. However, most people with an understanding of the historical events surrounding Melies' life might guess that a more likely reason for his depression could have something to do with the fact that in reality, Thomas Edison (the telephone/lightbulb guy) hired someone to steal a copy of Melies' Trip to the Moon, made a hundred copies, secretly screened them all over the States for tons of money (which he never shared with Melies), and subsequently sent Melies into bankruptcy. It's a shame that this is not so much as touched upon as it was such a significant part of Melies' life, but that's Hollywood.
The film is stunning in brilliant reds and blues and Asa Butterfield is someone to watch over the next few years as he carves out a career. At 14 years old he's firmly established himself with his performance in this film.
Sasha Baren Cohen was great in the role of the Station Inspector, but unfortunately he isn't that likeable a character. The one time he has a chance to redeem himself he doesn't take it. It leaves an awkward unpleasantness in the end.
Scorsese teamed up with Johnny Depp to produce this film and if you look closely you will catch Scorsese in a ten second cameo.
There are a number of other great bit parts in this film, like Jude Law as Hugo's ill fated father, but for the most part, the best reason to see this film is the cinematography and the graphics, and it's definitely worth watching for that.
check out your local listings at most Empire Theatres.