Did Seeing This Inspire Any Young Folk To Seek Out Silent Movies?
Contemporary Look-In --- Hugo (2011)
Parisian orphan meets George Melies and they bond. Another of contempo pics where production design weighs like an elephant foot. Director Martin Scorsese does high-tech homage to lush filmmaking of Michael Powell extraction, Hugo a keyboard-enabled Peter Pan flying places no camera went before. Scorsese might be a modern magician after Melies' own example, but for fact so many helmsmen with big $ resource doing similar exotic dances. Hugo is typical of modern ones that tell an 80 minute story in two hours. Moments are magical and Hugo's shot through with Scorsese love for cinema at time of inception. If only he could use the hundred and fifty million to document same and leave off at times treacly narrative.
The boy that is Hugo is weepy, but determined. He'd like to communicate with his dead father through a robot they restored together (here called an automaton). Is this at all healthy pursuit for a youngster? Writer wish fulfillment gives Hugo a pretty girlfriend who shares his morbid obsession and loves him for 30's-era pioneering geekiness. This is (or ever was) happening in real life about like a cheerleader going with me in 1969 to see Destroy All Monsters, but H'wood scribes renew the fantasy in hopes of such Beauty and The Dork dreams somehow coming true.
Ben Kingley is the cranky (not camera-wise) Melies, forlorn at his toy kiosk as was real-life GM, Scorsese poising the discarded genius for a same sort of triumphal comeback Tim Burton gave his Ed Wood in 1992, outcast picture-makers of yore vindicated by modern counterparts who identify strongly with them, despite Scorsese/Burton being at no risk of decline and continuing to direct high-profile pics themselves. Sir Chris Lee is the wise old bookseller. I kept wishing he had played Melies instead of Kingsley, renewal of objection felt when Lee got the Mycroft part in Wilder's The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes rather than leading as he deserved. Sacha Baron Cohen is excellent as the cruel station inspector tossing children into a black hole of orphan asylums. He's obviously a gifted actor for having gone from Borat and Bruno to characterization like this.
The Hugo kids go see Harold Lloyd in a theatre and we get a glimpse of Safety Last in HD, which amounted to theatrical preview of Criterion's Blu-Ray which would follow within the year or two. Hugo is a