Thanks to the awesome guys at Cosmix over on Decarie, which is where I always get my comics despite Millennium Comics being literally two blocks from my house, I was able to go see the Montreal premiere of Martin Scorsese’s Hugo movie last night. It opens everywhere tomorrow and I highly recommend you check it out in 3D. Normally, I hate wearing those 3D glasses, but this one is well worth it.
The movie is an adaptation of The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. Its story follows an orphan in the 1930s named Hugo Cabret who lives in the walls of a Paris train station. He keeps the clocks working so that nobody investigates them and thus discovers that he lives there. The reason he doesn’t want to be found revolves around his desire to finish an automaton he and his father were working on before the latter died in a tragic museum fire.
The automaton is everything embodied by the Clockpunk (a subgenre of Steampunk) mentality. Like Lego blocks on crystal meth, it is a dazzling collection of cogs, gears, both pristine and rusted metals, and the mysteriously and unbelievably fascinating. A central motif in the movie and in the genre itself is that every piece of equipment and every living person plays an integral part within a larger machine, analogous of God’s grand design. The story does a great job of tying Hugo to the automaton in this fashion, which in turn acts as the driving force to tying Hugo to the supporting cast, all of whom are simply wonderful to watch onscreen and to learn about.
Tack on a stellar soundtrack that fits the mood of every scene it accompanies and immediately it becomes very easy to immerse yourself in the story. Further helping to immerse you into the world itself is a beautiful architectural landscape that feels more industrial revolution-era instead of 1930-something, but still fits the Clockpunk world that the Hugo movie encompasses. Seeing this world and the inner mechanisms of the train station clocks in 3D is an absolute must. It’s never invasive 3D like how some movies throw stuff out at the screen. Ironically, it instead pulls the audience in.
Without giving you any spoilers, the movie is far from being a “kid’s movie” as advertised. In fact, I worry it won’t do as well as it should because it may be a bit too complex of a story for the children that it’s being marketed to. The more Hugo learns about the automaton’s secrets, the more the audience learns about the supporting cast and even a bit of cinematographic history. It’s a fairly adult story told through the eyes of two children sharing a hope-filled adventure in a beautiful Clockpunk world. It’s also the first movie since 2002 that Scorsese directed without starring Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead, which probably made me gigglesnort more than it should have.
Hugo opens in theatres everywhere on Wednesday, November 23, while Cosmix has been open to Montreal’s comics, toys and gaming fans for over 25 years. All of the links mentioned in the above article direct you to the American Amazon site, so my fellow Canadians can click on the following to check out the soundtrack, the original novel and the Hugo movie companion.