Film Review – Hugo (in 3D)

This is something of a difficult film to review, because it’s a difficult film to dislike. However, I also found it rather difficult to enjoy.

A clear love letter to good old-fashioned cinema, the film has a sincerity that draws you in and makes you root for it. But then you notice a bit of slapstick isn’t quite as funny as it should be. And then one of the child actors fails to properly deliver a line, or facial expression. And then Ben Kingsley fails to portray any sense of believably his first scene. And his next. And his next. And then the slight background sub-plot appears to be going nowhere. And Chloë Grace Moretz’s English accent is rather good, though is causing her to speak a little too slowly. And you then notice that the whole thing is going terribly slowly. And that Ben Kingsley really is just plain dreadful. And that your goodwill for the film has been stretched to snapping point, until you have to give in and admit that you’re trying to enjoy yourself, rather than actually doing so.

But as it’s a film with a decent, yet un-preachy moral, and it has no mean-spiritedness, I can’t bring myself to rant. I’m not angry. Just disappointed.

And finally, the 3D. Is it necessary? Has renowned director Martin Scorsese finally found the way to use 3D in a way that makes it as essential as colour, as opposed to a gimmick? Well, no. Things open impressively- the camera flies through the sky, through the convincingly blinding snowstorm, onto a railway platform, between trains and around the waiting passengers, before flying through the mechanics of the station clock- its cogs, corridors and balconies… And that’s about it. With a few underwhelming exceptions (dog barks at screen, the odd scenery pole juts out a bit), I’m just left wondering for what privilege I’ve had to pay an extra £2.50.

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  1. Dara Hickey

    I’m loving these reviews, Simon! It’ll be great to have a regular music reviewer on Unreality Shout who writes with such love for films. 

    I must agree with everyone this review says. ‘Hugo’ I did actually enjoy, but it took a lot of effort to ignore that blinding omissions of talent and, like you said, the useless inclusion of 3D. I don’t know why my friends insist on seeing films in 3D. Harry Potter 7.2 pretty much nailed the coffin shut on the possibility that 3D could ever bring anything extra to a film.

    1. Simon Williams

      Thanks Dara! Glad you can tell I’m a film lover, as the reviews so far have been quite heavily negative! I try to cover the good and the bad, so I hope I’m getting the balance right.

      Yes, agree about 3D, particularly retro-fitting. Although I must admit I am getting ridiculously excited about the 3D re-releases of Monsters Inc and Finding Nemo. Although I’d probably be just as excited in 2D!

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