Someday, I’m going to introduce “Hugo” to my children. As early as possible. Most likely though, they’ll find it terribly boring and would not be able to sit through the whole movie comfortably. In fact, I’ve seen this movie twice with some younger audiences and they obviously have a different kind of joy when “Hugo” moved to the second part where the iconic (at least, to any reasonable movie buffs out there) footage of “Le Voyage dans la lune” takes a spotlight. I really love this part, and really delve into it I am actually saddened when the movie ends. However, I hope that, with this movie, my children would get a glimpse of why I am so infatuated with stories.
There is a saying that we are all born creative. But this creativity is sort of waning and fading as we grow old and trapped in a rat race that has no cheese in sight. This is true to most of us, but I’m quite sure that only a few cared or missed about this flickered out creativity. Most of us would have just accepted it, went through the motion, and live miserably for the rest of her life. Yeah. Well, I’d like to think myself as one who is still stubbornly clinging to be (more or less) creative. I wrote software for a living, and occasionally wrote some of my thoughts here, to a point where I’m writing for my very own benefit. And I kept saying to anyone who cared to listen that I’m keeping the child in me happy and as far as I could tell, I’m doing okay.
From that perspective, a point of view where the child in me takes over with his many imaginations fueled by mere words or mere pictures, “Hugo” is a love letter from Martin Scorsese to which I read through with excitements and butterflies in my chest. Here, a boy and a girl, each bear a sadness, and each an obsession to fill the void. They met, find solace in one another and I am in love again. I see myself in Hugo Cabret who was obsessed with marvels of industrial designs, about how the gear, the winding mechanism, and clockworks went through their designated motions to achieve its purpose. And I see Isabelle, as a crush that I wish I had had. I mean, I grew up as a bookworm, and as far as I could tell, nobody in my childhood has a comparable degree with my enthusiasm on stories. I was an outcast back then but unlike in the movies, unlike in “Hugo,” I hadn’t met another outcast to share my dreams and my obsession with. Not until I’m 26 anyway. All in all, this is a feel good movie, and it effectively kicked me back to my childhood. The better part of my childhood, the better version of it.
On its second half portion, “Hugo” also tells a story that would rings true only to a cinema buff (or those who had seen and remembered Queen’s “Heaven for Everyone” or The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tonight, Tonight”). A brief history of cinema and about its preservation. In this part of the story, the center of attention is Georges Méliès (Sir Ben Kingsley at his best), who was among the first ever filmmaker. He built a castle on his dreams and had to see it crumble with he himself picking it apart. It was sad, and although I had never built my castle of dreams (still working on it), it’s a feeling that I could very much relate to. Other than that, we get to see a glimpse, a re-creation of a creative process that was once employed to make one of the very first moving pictures. They may look silly (the younger audiences I had mentioned earlier think they does) but only because we are so already used to moving pictures. One could only imagine how were the reactions of those first people who had never even heard or imagined about a moving picture before. “Hugo” did a pretty good job in capturing it, but still I wonder. In every conceivable way, Méliès is an inventor, one that pushes the boundary, who brings the magic to life into what we had been so used to. Really, it infuriates me a bit when the audiences I’m watching this movie with, mocked him the way they does. If it wasn’t for a man like Georges Méliès, there would be no such thing as moving pictures and anyone who claimed to love movies should give nothing short of a deepest gratitude to the deeds that he has done.
During the length of the movie, I was waiting for Martin Scorsese’s signature shot, and I am very pleased when the shot arrives. And at a very precise moment, as well. It brings smile and a tear of joy to yours truly here. “Hugo” is a celebration of story. And I don’t see why anyone who had the same love to stories not liking this movie as much as I do.