For a week, the New York Film Festival has been promoting last night’s showing of a work-in-progress by an unnamed “major director.” Turns out it was Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, based on Brian Selznick’s Caldecott-winning The Invention of Hugo Cabret (Scholastic, 2008). It’s the director’s first family movie and his first use of 3-D.
The Reuters’s reviewer said it is so good that Martin Scorsese may have just “saved 3D” (The Lion King seems to have already done that. Disney may kill it again, however, with their planned re-release of four more titles in that format). He also regards it as “less of a children’s film than Scorsese’s cinematic history lesson, and his valentine to the early days of cinema.”
On the other hand, influential critic Ann Thompson (former Deputy Film Editor at The Hollywood Reporter, she now runs her own movie news site, Thompson on Hollywood) found both the lead actor and the first half of the movie “awkward and stiff.” There is a lot riding on it. Thompson notes, “It’s a $120-million borderline art film aimed at families who may or may not buy into this elaborately 30s period Brit movie set in Paris with two tweens (Asa Butterfield and Chloe Moretz) on an adventure.”
The movie opens Nov. 23.
Below is a behind-the-scenes video, featuring Scorsese, released on the Web yesterday.