I must admit that when I first saw this film’s trailers and ad campaign I really had no idea what the film was about other than a boy and something with clocks, but yet I felt inclined to see it. Now having seen it, I understand the mystery behind it.

Hugo is based off the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret. The story revolves around Hugo, Asa Butterfield, who is an orphan that lives in the walls of a train station in 1930’s Paris. We learn that Hugo’s father was a watchmaker and died while working at a museum. Hogo was taken in by his uncle and soon began raising himself inside the walls of the station. Before Hugo’s dad tragically died, he found an automaton in the museum. He and Hugo were working to put it back together in working condition. Once Hugo’s father passed, he felt he needed to finish the job and that it would give some sort of message from his father.

Now if you are like me, you are wondering, “What is an automaton?” An automaton is a self-operating machine and it’s typically made to resemble human or animal actions. Hugo’s was made to resemble a man and this machine, with all the right parts, could write. Hugo has to steal to find the parts he needs and steals many from a toy shop at the station run by Georges Melies, played by Ben Kingsley. Georges catches Hugo stealing and makes him empty his pockets. Inside one pocket is a notebook with details of the automaton that Hugo’s dad wrote. From the moment Georges sees it, we know there is something odd. He has such a sharp reaction to it and tells Hugo he is going to burn it. Hugo tries to get the notebook back and finish the automaton and ends up getting some help from Isabelle, a girl who lives with Georges, played by Chloe Grace Moretz. They begin to uncover a world full of imagination and adventure.

One of the remarkable elements of this film is the 3D. I’m not one that is a huge fan of 3D, but this film was quite spectacular that medium. The film reminded me of Big Fish for some of its beauty. The visuals of this film are so breathtaking that Cinematography and Art Direction Oscars could easily come this way. It seems almost meticulous in its crafting. You can tell its a Scorsese film for its willingness to let a moment play-out.

Sasha Baron Cohen gives a great performance as the train station officer who has it in for orphans and wants nothing more than to catch Hugo. His quirkiness lends nice suspense and comic relief to the film.

My one complaint about the film is that it seems a bit long. The pacing is slow and it seems to be being marketed towards kids. While I can see some kids enjoying the film, I don’t think it will appeal to the masses in that way. I enjoyed the film for its beauty but I just don’t think the general audience will have the patience for it and that is quite unfortunate. Definitely see this film in 3D, I don’t say this often but it is more than worth the extra ticket fee. I look forward to seeing this film take home some Oscars on the artistic side that many overlook.