Pretentious Review: Hugo Bores Thousands


Main characters Hugo and Isabelle

Blake Tettleton

With a wide array of successful and thrilling films as his resume, you would expect going into Hugo that you would be on the edge of your seat throughout. This is not what you’re given. Within 20 minutes I had sank all the way into my seat and my eyes were painstakingly close to closing entirely. While the camera work is superb, the generic and dull plot ruined the experience entirely. Overacting and caricature-like characters run rampant. Take note though, that if any of your favorite movies are made by Disney, revolve entirely around cars, or involve superheroes, then this movie may be exactly what you’re looking for.

Hugo is the story of lonely orphan Hugo befriending former filmmaker and now washed-up toy maker named Georges Melies. With the help of Melies’ conveniently aged goddaughter Isabelle, Hugo attempts to get his father’s notebook over an automaton back from Melies after Melies took it during a theft attempt made by Hugo. Isabelle and Hugo’s relationship grows, and eventually Hugo trusts Isabelle enough to show her his father’s automaton that is featured in his father’s notebook; this leads to Hugo realizing that the final missing part to the automaton, a heart shaped key, is on a necklace that Melies had given to Isabelle when she was young. Once activated, the automaton draws a picture that Hugo recognizes from a film known as A Trip to the Moon. As Isabelle and Hugo search for Hugo’s notebook in Melies’ house, the two discover a suitcase filled with similarly drawn pieces of art in it, which fly out in a Poltergeist fashion. They are discovered by Melies and his wife Jeanne, to which Melies has a breakdown, kicking Hugo out of his house in the process. Isabelle and Hugo then go to a public library and find a book which contains information about Melies’ contributions to the film industry. The book also cites that Melies had died in the war, and as the kids are reading the author suddenly and coincidentally appears behind them and strikes up conversation with them. In a striking moment of brilliantly awful plot, Hugo and Isabelle tell the author about how Isabelle is Melies’ goddaughter and that she lives with him. After this there is a short backstory cutscene of Melies’ life, and the movie ends with him adopting Hugo as his own son.

I feel movies like this are always movies that turn critics on for their “art direction” yet have numerous plot holes and garbage casting. I honestly think I’d rather put a toothpick into my toenail and kick a wall than watch this movie again, because at least the kick would be short and to the point. The fact that I actually had to force myself to finish it puts it in my top five for most boring films I’ve ever had the displeasure of seeing. Now, plot issues aside, the camera work was nicely done, and the atmosphere of the overall settings was that of a surreal pre-war France. The CGI can look very obvious at times for such a high budget film as well. Had the plot just been even moderately interesting at times, this movie honestly wouldn’t have been so god awful.