DVD review | Hugo – Martin Scorsese enchants with his boy’s own tribute to a cinema pioneer

Hugo, Martin Scorsese’s first ever film for children is both a joyful and enchanting adventure tale and a loving tribute to the early days of cinema and one of its neglected pioneers.

Based on the award-winning novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, the film takes place in 1931 Paris and revolves around a resourceful young orphan (Asa Butterfield) who lives a clandestine existence behind the clocks of one of the city’s biggest train stations. Since the death of his father (Jude Law), Hugo has sought solace in completing their cherished project of repairing a broken automaton. His attempts to scavenge the parts he needs, while dodging Sacha Baron Cohen’s zealous station inspector, bring him into contact with a spirited young girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) and her crotchety godfather, Papa Georges (Ben Kingsley), owner of the station’s toy booth.

After a series of escapades in and around the station – filmed with dash and humour in exhilarating 3D – we learn Papa Georges’s full identity and his importance to the history of cinema – a subject dear to Scorsese, who interweaves iconic scenes from early silent cinema into his touching and exciting tale of childhood adventure.

George Melies

As an extra treat, the DVD/Blu-ray extras contains a fascinating featurette on the French film pioneer who inspired both book and film: Georges Méliès,  the stage magician turned prolific creator of film fantasies, including the hugely inventive 1902 special-effects classic A Trip to the Moon, shown at in London’s Ciné Lumiere in its original colour version last year.

Released on DVD & Blu-ray on Monday 2nd April by EV.


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