Hugo takes a subject, the early days of filmmaking, that I am interested in, and somehow makes it lackluster. The only parts of the film that actually did work for me were those scenes that revolved around early cinema. The rest of the story, involving an orphaned Hugo Cabret (played by the blank-faced, Asa Butterfield) living in a Paris train station, seemed disconnected from the story that obviously drew Scorsese to make the film. Everything involving kids and clocks and solving mysteries became tedious. It wasn't fun enough to appeal to childern nor was it smart enough to not bore adults. By the time we got to Georges Méliès, I kept wondering why the entire film hadn't just focused on him and his pioneering work in cinema.
Scorsese loves cinema- no one would question that. I'm just not sure why he so heavy-handedly keeps telling the viewer every other minute how amazing we should find it as well. We're at the movies- there's a good chance we already do feel the same way. The characters won't stop talking about how movies are like dreams while you're awake or something out of your imagination. The last thing I need is to be told that something is magical and enchanting. Show it to me and let me judge for myself. And all of the CGI backgrounds, green screens, and 3-D camerawork felt too cold and manufactured to ever actually produce something that was awe-inspiring. I wish Scorsese had taken more inspiration from those early Georges Méliès films and crafted things by hand with weight and dimension. Too often I think modern filmmaking relies too heavily on the computer, so you're always aware that it's not real. And for a movie that wishes to reach within your imagination, too often the awareness brings you harshly back to reality.