Watched Jan 16, 2012
Marcin Wichary’s review:
Someone once wrote that if you were to show the opening scene from The Social Network to an audience a hundred years ago, it would make them physically violently ill. The rapid-fire cuts, the extreme close-ups, the interwoven dialogue, the ambient noise are, to us, regular ingredients of a simple on-screen conversation – but contrary to our predecessors, we have the benefit of having grown up in a world of moving pictures, and we are used to their conventions.
Early cars resembled carriages. Robots looked like people. Computers were once used exclusively for… computing. Early cinema? It’s theatre, essentially. It always takes us time to figure out new technologies – not because of the lack of imagination, but because imagination needs to be throttled: we simply can’t just anchor our comfort zone and run away in a random direction. Things take time.
Hugo is one of those rare 3D movies that actually benefit from 3D. It pushes the technology just the right amount: not too far, so we don’t feel alienated, but far enough so that we witness some truly new and exciting things.
What helps is also that Hugo happens to be a great, touching story. It’s Scorsese’s Super 8, a rose-tinted love letter to the machinery of simpler times – clocks, trains, robots… and, yes, early movies. It’s a world so full of wonder and magic that it could donate one third of it to the new Tintin, and it’d still remain a terrific film.
I don’t know what’s in store for 3D in the movies. It’s still, after all, a laughably primitive technology. Maybe it’ll stick around this time, or maybe it’ll again disappear and come back a decade or two from now on. But it’s good to see that already today some directors refuse to be infatuated by it, and instead try to put it to work and make movies great in new ways we never thought were possible. Echoing the story in the movie itself, the 3D here, simply, actually, surprisingly, has a purpose. Go see it and splurge for that extra D.