Saturday, November 26, 2011



Do you want to go on an adventure?

Martin Scorsese, the academy award winning director known for movies such as Taxi Diver, Cape Fear, The Aviator, and the recent Shutter Island, will take you on his newest adventure, Hugo, his first 3-D film, to a world of steam; the chug of heavy coal engines; cool brass; dank, rusting iron; and the unforgiving wet winter Parisian streets of the nineteen thirties.

He’ll introduce you to a young boy with vivid blue eyes, Hugo Cabret (played by Asa Butterfield), orphaned by the death of his father and left by his alcoholic uncle to work alone behind the walls of a big train station, fixing and maintaining the giant clocks, his view of the world, lonely but perceptive from behind the clockworks.

He’ll show you a mysterious, mechanical man, an automaton, left behind in disrepair, and a notebook, both of which might hold a message from Hugo’s father.

You’ll meet a young girl, Isabelle (played by Chloe Moretz), with a key on her necklace; an officious inspector on a mission to rid the train station of orphans; and a bitter, old shopkeeper (played by Ben Kingsley) who snatches the notebook from Hugo’s hands.

The film features an impressive array of star power, including performances by Jude Law, Sacha Cohen, Ray Winstone, Helen McCrory, and many others—and for the Lord of the Rings aficionados: Christopher Lee.

The film is an adaptation of the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by the Caldecott award winning author, illustrator Brian Selznick. What’s special about this book is not only the 284 stunning pictures illustrating the story, but a fantastic tribute to the pioneer movie maker, Georges Méliès, who’s films were a veritable magic show of special effects. He was the first to experiment with science fiction and fantasy—recall the early 1902 silent film Voyage Dans La Lune: A Trip to the Moon. Its iconic imagery of a spaceship piercing the eye of the man on the moon inspired generations, and which also repeatedly appears in the both the book and the Scorsese film.

Méliès was also known to be a collector of automata (self-operating mannequins or robots that run on non-electronic complex clockworks or wind-up technology), which collection he donated to a museum only to be lost or destroyed by neglect. After making more than 500 films, he fell on hard time, the majority of his films being melted down to make boot heels for the military, and he spent the remaining years of his life selling toys in a Paris train station.

Iconic image from Voyage Dans La Lune--Voyage to the moon