Hugo - an adaptation of Brian Selznick's best-selling novel, "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" - sounds interesting enough before you mention that it's a shot-in-3D motion picture directed by Oscar-winner (and legendary auteur) Martin Scorsese.
Those who've been attending the 2011 New York Film Festival (NYFF) got a sneak peek at an unfinished cut of Hugo last night. In addition to some of those reactions, we also have a short featurette with Scorsese discussing the basic plot of Hugo - and his decision to shoot the family-friendly period tale in 3D (a first for him).
The good news is that the preliminary consensus for Hugo is pretty positive. NYFF viewers were reportedly shown an incomplete version of the final product that needed some fine-tuning on a technical level (ex. color correction, green screen shots, and musical score). In terms of narrative structure, however, it sounds like the version shown was largely complete... though, Scorsese and Co. still have over a month to tinker with and re-edit the footage as they see fit.
Here's what Deadline had to say, as far as Hugo's technical proficiency goes:
"... Scorsese has provided the most intriguing use of 3D since James Cameron did in 'Avatar'; instead of the gimmicky opportunity of using 3D to have objects jump out at audiences, Scorsese employs it to subtly immerse the audience into Hugo Cabret’s world that exists behind the walls of a Paris train station, and the inner workings of the clocks he winds and maintains, that are so integral to the film’s plot..."
We've seen some excellent uses of 3D this year - like the third-act Chicago set piece in Transformers: Dark of the Moon or the death sequences in Final Destination 5 - but it sounds like Hugo will offer much more of a complete package... or, rather, an entire film that takes advantage of the technology.
/Film seems to confirm as much in its post/review of Hugo, saying:
"... This is the kind of [3D] work filmmakers are talking about when they insist it isn’t just a cheesy, money-grabbing gimmick, but a true next step in cinematic technology, because this is the kind of movie that’s actually worth shelling out the extra bucks and dealing with those uncomfortable disposable glasses for... The really impressive use here isn’t in the dazzling action set pieces — though happily, there are some of those too — but in the subtler scenes, where [the 3D is] seamlessly dispatched to make for a more immersive viewing experience..."
For a 2D look at Hugo's cutting-edge 3D visuals, check out the featurette below:
Hugo scriber John Logan has handled more kid-friendly stories before (see: Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, Rango) but Scorsese is on untested territory here. Nonetheless, the footage unveiled looks to strike a pleasant tone that is miles away from famous Scorsese titles like Goodfellas or Taxi Driver, but not so glib and kitschy that it will appeal solely to those of a younger age. Plus, Hugo (like Scorsese's other films) reportedly features plenty of visual/thematic homages and references to classic cinema - which should please the hardcore film history buffs out there.
For more about Hugo in general, read the full /Film review.
Hugo stars Asa Butterfield (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas), Chloë Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass), Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes), Ben Kingsley (Schindler's List), Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat), Emily Mortimer (Match Point), Helen McCrory (the Harry Potter series), Michael Pitt (Boardwalk Empire), Ray Winstone (The Departed), Michael Stuhlbarg (A Serious Man), Christopher Lee, and Johnny Depp. It opens in 2D and 3D theaters around the U.S. on November 23rd, 2011.