Sunday, January 1, 2012

Hugo 3-D! Scorsese and Lee together at last!

Martin Scorsese's HUGO 3-D was a pleasant surprise.  After see the misleading, dull trailer a number of times it was still a foregone conclusion that I had to see this film on the big screen for the simple reason that two icons of cinema- Martin Scorsese and Christopher Lee were working together for the first time (I actually rushed to see the first STAR WARS in '77 primarily because it was a new 'Peter Cushing' movie!).  At the heart of HUGO is a fictional juvenile drama of a boy's (Asa Butterfield) quest to repair a mysterious automaton that his deceased father (Jude Law) was obsessed with.  For me, the real central theme of the film was a celebration to the director's passion for and preservaton of cinema and how the birth of the soul of cinema modern film was spawned by the real life, cosmic imagination of a French magician, Georges Melies (1861-1938), portrayed by Ben Kingsley, who was determined to put dreams on celluloid.  Kingsley's Melies pronounces that movies are 'a new kind of magic!' and I couldn't agree more.  There is a stunning array of clips from some of the great silent films (INTOLERANCE, THE GENERAL, SAFETY LAST, THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY and others!) and who would ever have thought this could happen today in a commercial film aimed at young teens?  Some original clips from A TRIP TO THE MOON are even rendered in 3D!  I've always believed that pure cinema owed much more to magic and the art of illusions than it ever did to literature or theater and Scorsese's new film makes the case definitively.  Also, to be commended is Scorsese's unique approach to the often overly-gimmicky digital 3D process.  Scorsese brings the action and the performance literally OUT OF THE SCREEN and into the open space between you and the screen, practically in your lap!  You forget the boundaries of the screen and the characters actually speak to you and practically touch noses!  It's so intimate that you feel you can almost interact with the small ensemble cast of humans and canines!  A great achievement, a mezmerizing experience and undoubtedly one of Scorsese's most personal films. Be sure to check it out in 3D at your local theater!

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