Hugo (film)

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Hugo
<!see WP:ALT -->
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMartin Scorsese
Produced byGraham King
Timothy Headington
Martin Scorsese
Johnny Depp
Screenplay byJohn Logan
Based onThe Invention of Hugo Cabret 
by Brian Selznick
StarringBen Kingsley
Sacha Baron Cohen
Asa Butterfield
Chloë Grace Moretz
Ray Winstone
Emily Mortimer
Christopher Lee
Helen McCrory
Michael Stuhlbarg
Frances de la Tour
Richard Griffiths
Jude Law
Music byHoward Shore
CinematographyRobert Richardson
Editing byThelma Schoonmaker
StudioGK Films
Infinitum Nihil
Distributed byParamount Pictures (Worldwide)
Entertainment Film Distributors (UK)
Release dates
  • November 23, 2011 (2011-11-23)
[1]
Running time125 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
United States
France
LanguageEnglish
Budget$150 to $170 million[2]
Box office$185,770,160[3]
 
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Hugo
<!see WP:ALT -->
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMartin Scorsese
Produced byGraham King
Timothy Headington
Martin Scorsese
Johnny Depp
Screenplay byJohn Logan
Based onThe Invention of Hugo Cabret 
by Brian Selznick
StarringBen Kingsley
Sacha Baron Cohen
Asa Butterfield
Chloë Grace Moretz
Ray Winstone
Emily Mortimer
Christopher Lee
Helen McCrory
Michael Stuhlbarg
Frances de la Tour
Richard Griffiths
Jude Law
Music byHoward Shore
CinematographyRobert Richardson
Editing byThelma Schoonmaker
StudioGK Films
Infinitum Nihil
Distributed byParamount Pictures (Worldwide)
Entertainment Film Distributors (UK)
Release dates
  • November 23, 2011 (2011-11-23)
[1]
Running time125 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
United States
France
LanguageEnglish
Budget$150 to $170 million[2]
Box office$185,770,160[3]

Hugo is a 2011 3D historical adventure drama film based on Brian Selznick's novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret about a boy who lives alone in the Gare Montparnasse railway station in Paris. It is directed and co-produced by Martin Scorsese and adapted for the screen by John Logan. It is a co-production between Graham King's GK Films and Johnny Depp's Infinitum Nihil. The film stars Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helen McCrory, Ray Winstone, Emily Mortimer, Jude Law, and Christopher Lee.

Hugo is Scorsese's first film shot in 3D, of which the filmmaker remarked: "I found 3D to be really interesting, because the actors were more upfront emotionally. Their slightest move, their slightest intention is picked up much more precisely."[4] The film was distributed by Paramount Pictures and released in the U.S. on November 23, 2011.[5]

The film was received with critical acclaim, with many critics praising the visuals, acting, and direction. At the 84th Academy Awards, Hugo won five Oscars—for Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Sound Editing—and its eleven total nominations (including Best Picture) was the most for the evening.[6] Hugo also won two BAFTAs and was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards, earning Scorsese his third Golden Globe Award for Best Director.

Plot[edit]

In 1931, Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) is a 12-year-old boy living in the walls of the Paris Gare Montparnasse railway station, where he mends the station's clocks. Previously, Hugo was raised by his widowed father, a museum worker (Jude Law). His father had doted on him, teaching him the art of repairing mechanical devices, taking him to movies, and showing him how he was repairing an automaton (mechanical man) that supposedly could write a message. After his father was killed in a museum fire, Hugo was taken in by his alcoholic uncle Claude (Ray Winstone) who showed little sentiment for Hugo but taught the boy how to maintain the clocks at the station. When Claude mysteriously disappears, Hugo continues to maintain the clocks while making a living by stealing food and supplies. All the while Hugo lives in fear that if the vigilant Station Inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen) were to discover him, he would be turned over to an orphanage.

Hugo continues the work on the automaton. Relying on his father's notebook for insight, he steals the required parts wherever he can, including from the shop of a toymaker who makes and sells mechanical toys. One day, he is finally caught by the bitter toymaker, Papa Georges (Ben Kingsley), who has long known that Hugo robs him. Georges looks through Hugo's father's notebook, is evidently strongly affected by it, and keeps it despite Hugo's protests. Hugo trails Georges to his home to retrieve it. There, he meets Georges' goddaughter, Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz), who promises to help.

At the station on the following day Georges gives some ashes to Hugo, referring to them as the remains of the notebook. Later, Isabelle tells him that the notebook was not burnt, adding that the notebook has somehow deeply disturbed her Papa Georges. Finally, Georges tells Hugo that he may earn his notebook back if he works in the toy store every day to pay for all the items Hugo stole. During his free time, Hugo continues to work on the automaton. When it is finished, however, it is still missing one part: a heart-shaped key that goes into the back of the automaton to make it work.

As the two grow close together, Hugo takes Isabelle to the movies, something that Georges would never let her do, while she introduces him to the bookstore owner Monsieur Labisse (Christopher Lee) who has loaned her books in the past.

A Georges Méliès drawing similar to the one drawn by the automaton in the film

Hugo is surprised to find that Isabelle wears a heart-shaped key as a necklace. He asks to borrow it, but Isabelle refuses to lend the key to him unless he tells her why he needs it. At first he declines, but his desire to see the automaton operate leads him to take Isabelle to see the automaton. They use the key to start the automaton, and watch as it draws out an iconic image from the film Voyage to the Moon by the film pioneer Georges Méliès. When the automaton writes a signature beneath the drawing, Isabelle recognizes the name as her godfather's own. They take the drawing to Georges' home for an explanation. They ask Isabelle's godmother Mama Jeanne (Helen McCrory) but she will not tell them anything. As Georges arrives home, Jeanne forces the children into a back room, where they find a hidden compartment in an armoire. In the compartment is a small chest containing a copy of the automaton's drawing, along with many other drawings. The noise of a collapsing chair draws Georges into the room, and he throws Hugo out, feeling betrayed.

Some time later, Hugo and Isabelle discuss Méliès with the bookstore owner; he directs them to the Film Academy section of the library, telling them just where they may find a book on the history of film. As they read the book, its author, Rene Tabard (Michael Stuhlbarg), appears and describes his love for Méliès's work. The book asserts that Méliès died during World War I, but the children convince Tabard that the filmmaker is still alive. Tabard reveals he has the last known copy of Voyage, and he suggests that they go to the Georges' house to watch it the next evening. That night, Hugo had a dream where he finds a golden heart-shaped key lying on a railbed in the station but is run over by an approaching train and his dream ends with images of the Gare Montparnasse accident of 1895.

The next evening, Jeanne is hesitant about letting them show the film until Tabard recognizes her as Jeanne d'Alcy, a frequent and beautiful actress in many of Méliès' films. When the film finishes, Georges comes out, and emotionally reveals himself to be Méliès, recalling his filmmaking career. He transformed his illusionist skills into the special effects he used for his movies to bring his vivid imagination to life. However, after the horrors of World War I, his films lost popularity with the jaded and disillusioned population, and he became ruined, selling the films to be melted down to chemicals, used to mold shoe heels, and quietly disappeared as a toy maker to sustain himself and Jeanne. Georges is despondent, believing all of his former film materials were otherwise destroyed in a museum fire, leading Hugo to recall the automaton.

Hugo races back to the station to get the automaton (intending to use it as a surprise for Georges), but before he can retrieve it, he overhears the Station Inspector tell that Claude's body had been recovered in the Seine. The Inspector catches Hugo and discovers that he is an orphan. During the ensuing chase, Hugo climbs up the clock tower and is forced to climb onto the clock hands to hide from the Inspector. When he goes away, Hugo quickly climbs back in and gets the automaton but is quickly cornered again by the Inspector and the automaton is thrown onto the railway tracks. Despite the approach of an oncoming train, Hugo jumps onto the tracks to recover the automaton. With no time to climb back up onto the platform to save himself and the automaton, Hugo appears to face certain death from the oncoming train. However, the Inspector saves Hugo at the last moment. As the Inspector decides whether or not to arrest Hugo, Georges arrives and asserts that Hugo is now in his care. Hugo is released and presents the automaton to Georges.

Sometime later, a film festival is held showcasing over eighty recovered and restored Méliès films. Georges tearfully takes the stage, and thanks Hugo for his dedication and to the other attendees for sharing his imagination with him. After the festival, during a party in the Georges' house, Hugo has acclimated as Georges' son, while Isabelle begins writing a book on the recent events. The film ends on a shot of the automaton sitting at a writing desk in a pleasant room, posed as though prepared to resume drawing.

Cast[edit]

Michael Pitt, Martin Scorsese and Brian Selznick have cameo roles.

Production[edit]

GK Films acquired the screen rights to The Invention of Hugo Cabret shortly after the book was published in 2007. Initially, Chris Wedge was signed in to direct the adaptation and John Logan was contracted to write the screenplay.[7] The film was initially titled Hugo Cabret. Several actors were hired, including Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz and Helen McCrory. Jude Law, Ray Winstone, Christopher Lee, Frances de la Tour and Richard Griffiths later joined the project. The venture was officially launched into production in London on June 29, 2010. The first shooting location was at the Shepperton Studios in London along with other places in London and Paris.[8] The Nene Valley Railway near Peterborough, also loaned their original Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits rolling stock to the studio.[9][10] The film's soundtrack includes an Oscar-nominated original score composed by Howard Shore, and also makes prominent use of the Danse macabre by Camille Saint-Saëns and the first Gnossienne by Erik Satie.

Hugo was originally budgeted at $100 million but overran with a final budget of between $156 million and $170 million.[11] In February 2012, Graham King summed up his experience of producing Hugo: "Let's just say that it hasn't been an easy few months for me — there's been a lot of Ambien involved".

Historical references[edit]

The Jaquet-Droz automaton "the writer", an inspiration for the design of the automaton in the film

The overall backstory and primary features of Georges Méliès' life as depicted in the film are largely accurate: he became interested in film after seeing a demonstration of the Lumière brothers' camera,[12] he was a magician and toymaker, he experimented with automata, he owned a theatre (Theatre Robert-Houdin), he was forced into bankruptcy, his film stock was reportedly melted down for its cellulose, he became a toy salesman at the Montparnasse station, and he was eventually awarded the Légion d'honneur medal after a period of terrible neglect. Many of the early silent films shown in the movie are Méliès's actual works, such as Le voyage dans la lune (1902). However, the film does not mention Méliès' two children, his brother Gaston (who worked with Méliès during his film making career), or his first wife Eugénie, who was married to Méliès during the time he made films (Eugénie died in 1913). The film shows Méliès as having been married to Jeanne d'Alcy during their film making period, when in reality, they did not marry until 1925.

The design for the automaton was inspired by one made by the Swiss watchmaker Henri Maillardet, which Selznick had seen in the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia,[13] as well as the Jaquet-Droz automaton "the writer".[14]

Several viewings of the film L'Arrivée d'un train en gare de La Ciotat are portrayed, depicting the shocked reaction of the audience - although this view is in doubt.[15]

Emil Lager, Ben Addis, and Robert Gill make cameo appearances as Django Reinhardt, the father of Gypsy jazz guitar, Salvador Dalí, the Spanish surrealist painter, and James Joyce, the Irish writer, respectively. The names of all three characters appear towards the end of the film's cast credit list.[16]

The book that Monsieur Labisse gives Hugo as a gift, Robin Hood le proscrit, was written by Alexandre Dumas in 1864 as a French translation of an 1838 work by Pierce Egan the Younger in England. The book is symbolic, as Hugo must avoid the "righteous" law enforcement (represented by Inspector Gustave) to live in the station and later to restore the automaton both to a functioning status and to its rightful owner.

Reception[edit]

Box office performance[edit]

Hugo earned $73,864,507 domestically and $111,905,653 internationally for a worldwide gross of $185,770,160.[3]

Hugo was cited as one of the year's notable box office flops despite garnering praise from critics. The film gained $15.4 million over the Thanksgiving weekend and almost $74 million domestically, barely half of its $170 million budget, even though it made strength overseas. Hugo's perceived failure was due to competition with Disney's The Muppets and Summit's Breaking Dawn Part 1.[17] The film is set to cost its studio $100 million because of its box office performance.[18]

Producer Graham King expressed that the film's box office results have been painful. "There's no finger pointing — I'm the producer and I take the responsibility," he said glumly. "Budget wise, there just wasn't enough prep time and no one really realized how complicated doing a 3-D film was going to be. I went through three line producers because no one knew exactly what was going on. Do I still think it's a masterpiece that will be talked about in 20 years? Yes. But once the schedule started getting out of whack, things just spiraled and spiraled and that's when the avalanche began."[19]

Critical reception[edit]

Hugo received universal critical acclaim. The film holds a 94% "Fresh" rating on aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes based on 224 reviews, with an average score of 8.4. The site's main consensus reads "Hugo is an extravagant, elegant fantasy with an innocence lacking in many modern kids' movies, and one that emanates an unabashed love for the magic of cinema." Similarly, Metacritic gave[when?] the film an average score of 83 based on 41 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[20]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film four out of four stars saying "Hugo is unlike any other film Martin Scorsese has ever made, and yet possibly the closest to his heart: a big-budget, family epic in 3-D, and in some ways, a mirror of his own life. We feel a great artist has been given command of the tools and resources he needs to make a movie about – movies."[21] Peter Rainer of The Christian Science Monitor gave it a "B+" grade and termed it as an "an odd mixture: a deeply personal impersonal movie" and concluded that "Hugo is a mixed bag but one well worth rummaging through."[22] Christy Lemire said that it had an "abundant love of the power of film; being a hardcore cinephile (like Scorsese) might add a layer of enjoyment, but it certainly isn't a prerequisite for walking in the door" besides being "slightly repetitive and overlong".[23] Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune rated it three stars and described it as "rich and stimulating even when it wanders" explaining "every locale in Scorsese's vision of 1931 Paris looks and feels like another planet. The filmmaker embraces storybook artifice as wholeheartedly as he relays the tale's lessons in the importance of film preservation."[24] Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal gave a negative review, saying "visually Hugo is a marvel, but dramatically it's a clockwork lemon.[25]

Hugo was selected for the Royal Film Performance 2011 with a screening at the Odeon, Leicester Square in London on 28 November 2011 in the presence of TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall in support of the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund.[26]

Richard Corliss of Time named it one of the Top 10 Best Movies of 2011, saying "Scorsese's love poem, rendered gorgeously in 3-D, restores both the reputation of an early pioneer and the glory of movie history – the birth of a popular art form given new life through a master's application of the coolest new techniques".[27]

James Cameron called Hugo "a masterpiece" and that the film had the best use of 3D he had seen, surpassing even his own acclaimed films.[28]

Top ten lists[edit]

The film has appeared on the following critics' top ten lists for the best films of 2011:

CriticPublicationRank
David DenbyThe New Yorker1st
Harry KnowlesAint It Cool News1st[29]
Shawn LevyThe Oregonian (Portland)1st[30]
Noel MurrayA.V. Club2nd
Glenn KennyMSN Movies2nd
Luke WulfensmithFreelance2nd
Peter HartlaubSan Francisco Chronicle2nd
Richard CorlissTime2nd
Roger EbertChicago Sun-Times4th
Lisa SchwarzbaumEntertainment Weekly4th
Richard BrodyThe New Yorker4th
Peter ParasE! Online5th
N/AMTV5th
Todd McCarthyThe Hollywood Reporter6th
Peter TraversRolling Stone6th
N/ATV Guide7th
J. HobermanThe Village Voice8th
Mark KermodeBBC Radio 5 Live9th
Kim MorganMSN Movies9th
Keith PhippsA.V. Club9th
Sean AxmakerMSN Movies10th
Glenn Heath Jr.Slant Magazine10th
Jeff SimonThe Buffalo NewsN/A
Manohla DargisThe New York TimesN/A
Phillip FrenchThe ObserverN/A

Accolades[edit]

List of awards and nominations
AwardDate of ceremonyCategoryRecipients and nomineesResult
Academy Awards[31][32]26 February 2012Best PictureGraham King and Martin ScorseseNominated
Best DirectorMartin ScorseseNominated
Best Adapted ScreenplayJohn LoganNominated
Best CinematographyRobert RichardsonWon
Best Original ScoreHoward ShoreNominated
Best Art DirectionDante Ferretti, Francesca Lo SchiavoWon
Best Costume DesignSandy PowellNominated
Best Visual EffectsRobert Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossmann and Alex HenningWon
Best Film EditingThelma SchoonmakerNominated
Best Sound EditingPhilip Stockton and Eugene GeartyWon
Best Sound MixingTom Fleischman and John MidgleyWon
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of Argentina Awards[33]December 5, 2012Best Foreign FilmGraham King, Timothy Headington, Martin Scorsese, and Johnny DeppWon
Alliance of Women Film Journalists[34][35]10 January 2012Best PictureGraham King and Martin ScorseseNominated
Best DirectorMartin ScorseseNominated
Best Adapted ScreenplayJohn LoganNominated
Best CinematographyRobert RichardsonNominated
Best EditingThelma SchoonmakerWon
American Society of Cinematographers[36]12 February 2012Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in a Feature FilmRobert RichardsonNominated
Art Directors Guild[37]4 February 2012Period FilmDante FerrettiWon
Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards[38]27 January 2012Best Film – InternationalGraham King and Martin ScorseseNominated
Best Direction – InternationalMartin ScorseseNominated
Boston Society of Film Critics Award11 December 2011Best DirectorMartin ScorseseWon
Best FilmGraham King and Martin ScorseseNominated
Best CinematographyRobert RichardsonNominated
2nd place
Best EditingThelma SchoonmakerNominated
2nd place
BAFTA[39][40]12 February 2012Best DirectorMartin ScorseseNominated
Best CinematographyRobert RichardsonNominated
Best Original ScoreHoward ShoreNominated
Best SoundPhilip Stockton, Eugene Gearty, Tom Fleischman and John MidgleyWon
Best EditingThelma SchoonmakerNominated
Best Production DesignDante Ferretti and Francesca Lo SchiavoWon
Best Costume DesignSandy PowellNominated
Best Makeup and HairMorag Ross and Jan ArchibaldNominated
Broadcast Film Critics AssociationBest PictureGraham King and Martin ScorseseNominated
Best DirectorMartin ScorseseNominated
Best Young Actor/ActressAsa ButterfieldNominated
Best Adapted ScreenplayJohn LoganNominated
Best CinematographyRobert RichardsonNominated
Best EditingThelma SchoonmakerNominated
Best Production Design/Art DirectionDante Ferretti, Francesca Lo SchiavoWon
Best ScoreHoward ShoreNominated
Best Costume DesignSandy PowellNominated
Best Visual EffectsRobert LegatoNominated
Best SoundPhilip Stockton, Eugene Gearty, Tom Fleischman and John MidgleyNominated
Chicago Film Critics Association[41][42]7 January 2012Best FilmGraham King and Martin ScorseseNominated
Best DirectorMartin ScorseseNominated
Best CinematographyRobert RichardsonNominated
Best ScoreHoward ShoreNominated
David di Donatello Awards[43]4 May 2012Best Foreign FilmNominated
Detroit Film Critics Society[44]16 December 2011Best FilmGraham King and Martin ScorseseNominated
Best DirectorMartin ScorseseNominated
Florida Film Critics Circle Awards[45]19 December 2011Best DirectorMartin ScorseseWon
Best FilmGraham King and Martin ScorseseNominated
Best Production Design/Art DirectionDante Ferretti and Francesca Lo SchiavoWon
Golden Globe Awards[46][47]15 January 2012Best DirectorMartin ScorseseWon
Best Motion Picture – DramaGraham King and Martin ScorseseNominated
Best Original ScoreHoward ShoreNominated
Golden Trailer Awards[48]31 May 2012Best Animation/Family"Imagine"Nominated
Best Animation/Family TV SpotNominated
Grammy Awards[49]10 February 2013Best Score Soundtrack For Visual MediaHoward ShoreNominated
Hugo Awards (Science Fiction Achievement Awards)2 September 2012Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)Martin Scorsese and John LoganNominated
Indiana Film Critics AssociationBest FilmGraham King and Martin ScorseseNominated
Best Musical ScoreHoward ShoreNominated
Las Vegas Film Critics Society13 December 2011Best FilmGraham King and Martin ScorseseNominated
Best Family FilmWon
Best Film EditingThelma SchoonmakerWon
Best Youth in FilmAsa ButterfieldWon
National Board of Review[50]Best FilmGraham King and Martin ScorseseWon
Best DirectorMartin ScorseseWon
New York Film Critics Circle Award29 November 2011Best DirectorMartin ScorseseNominated
2nd place
Best FilmGraham King and Martin ScorseseNominated
3rd place
Online Film Critics Society Awards2 January 2012Best PictureGraham King and Martin ScorseseNominated
Best DirectorMartin ScorseseNominated
Best CinematographyRobert RichardsonNominated
Phoenix Film Critics Society27 December 2011Best PictureGraham King and Martin ScorseseNominated
Best DirectorMartin ScorseseNominated
Best Adapted ScreenplayJohn LoganNominated
Best CinematographyRobert RichardsonNominated
Best Production DesignDante FerrettiWon
Best Costume DesignSandy PowellNominated
Best Visual EffectsRobert LegatoWon
Best Live Action Family FilmNominated
Satellite Awards19 December 2011Best PictureGraham King and Martin ScorseseNominated
Best DirectorMartin ScorseseNominated
Best Art Direction and Production DesignDante Ferretti and Francesca Lo SchiavoNominated
Best CinematographyRobert RichardsonNominated
Best Visual EffectsRobert LegatoWon
San Diego Film Critics Society Awards14 December 2011Best Production DesignDante FerrettiWon
Best FilmGraham King and Martin ScorseseNominated
Best DirectorMartin ScorseseNominated
Best Adapted ScreenplayJohn LoganNominated
Best CinematographyRobert RichardsonNominated
Best EditingThelma SchoonmakerNominated
Best ScoreHoward ShoreNominated
Saturn Awards[51]20 June 2012Best Fantasy FilmNominated
Best ActorBen KingsleyNominated
Best Performance by a Younger ActorAsa ButterfieldNominated
Chloë Grace MoretzNominated
Best DirectorMartin ScorseseNominated
Best WritingJohn LoganNominated
Best MusicHoward ShoreNominated
Best CostumeSandy PowellNominated
Best Production DesignDante FerrettiWon
Best EditingThelma SchoonmakerNominated
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Awards[52]5 December 2011Best DirectorMartin ScorseseWon
Best Art DirectionDante DerrettiWon
Best FilmGraham King and Martin ScorseseNominated
Best Acting EnsembleNominated
Best Adapted ScreenplayJohn LoganNominated
Best CinematographyRobert RichardsonNominated
Best ScoreHoward ShoreNominated
World Soundtrack Academy20 October 2012Best Soundtrack AwardHoward ShoreNominated
Composer of the YearNominated
Young Artist Award[53]6 May 2012Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young ActorAsa ButterfieldNominated
Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young ActressChloë Grace MoretzWon

References[edit]

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