Jaap Buitendijk
Chris Nashawaty
February 24, 2012 at 05:00 AM EST


Current Status
In Season
125 minutes
Wide Release Date
Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, Christopher Lee, Chloe Grace Moretz
Martin Scorsese
Paramount Pictures
John Logan
ActionAdventure, Drama
We gave it an A-

Even if you have a sweet home-theater system with all of the latest surround-sound bells and high-def whistles, 3-D movies can feel like a bit of a bust in your living room. I won’t pretend that Martin Scorsese’s family-friendly fantasia Hugo (2011, PG, 2 hrs., 6 mins.) is different. It’s not. The best way to experience its eye-candy F/X is in a theater. But there are a few reasons why this spellbinding story about a young orphan’s quest to decipher a coded message from his late father in 1930s Paris is worth checking out on Blu-ray: the EXTRAS. Clocking in at a reasonable 57 minutes, the supplements are surprisingly in-depth — maybe because Scorsese talks so quickly that he covers twice the ground a normal human could. Sacha Baron Cohen, who plays a sadistic train-station inspector in the film, also weighs in, describing how he wanted his character to wear a prosthetic leg just so it could be severed and fly at the camera in 3-D. His suggestion was shot down, he says, because it “would freak kids out.” On a more serious note, there are fascinating featurettes about the creepy history of automatons, a blow-by-blow look at the miniatures used for Hugo‘s cool derailing-locomotive sequence, and best of all, a deeper study of Georges Méliès, the pioneering French filmmaker at the heart of the movie (he’s played by Ben Kingsley). This is where Scorsese, the infectious rat-a-tat-tat extoller of cinema, is at his best. Watching clips from turn-of-the-century films like A Trip to the Moon and Kingdom of the Fairies through Scorsese’s eyes makes them seem more like Méliès magic tricks than movies. “If he had his hands on the equipment we have now,” says Scorsese, “he’d advance cinema another hundred years.” A-

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