Wrapped in a children's book story of a boy-to-man human whose one goal is to bring the same transition to bear on a wind-up-robot, Scorsese builds his plot on the mystery and joy of invention, labor, and purpose. It's hard to miss the point: can we find the missing piece of life's greatest puzzle? - Where do I fit? How do I find my place? What is my purpose? What happens when I lose it? Can I find it again? The answer to these questions tells the story, and the Story--yours and mine--is the point.
- The appeal for me is a film that brings the BIG QUESTIONS to the table of our minds in a simple, profound way.
- The appeal for me is the unmentioned but very bold backdrop of theology: You are here on purpose. There is a Maker and he knows what he's doing. Finding the place where you fit is the magic key for making sense of the world, and that key is out there, waiting, even if you've misplaced it.
- The appeal for me is the unifying theme, lived out and revealed in each character, even the side-kicks and bumbling clowns serving in support of the story. Even puppies find their place here.
- The appeal for me is a movie that kids will enjoy and parents will think about.
- The appeal for me is the breath-taking beauty of a single shot or scene--a flower stand, a Paris landscape at night, a journey through every child's dream-land of hidden places--and Hugo offers a gallery of these sequences.
And that is why, by the way, you should see this film in 3D. Technology and art is the central core of Hugo. It only makes sense that Scorsese would use the latest and greatest in service of the plot, and he does so in elegant form. This is not 3D for the sake of oohs and ahhhs, but in conscription to the artistic heart. This 3D does not leave you saying, "OH! WOW! It was like it was heading for my face!" Instead, it aims at the tender parts of our senses that determine what is true and beautiful. When the busy marketplace of a Parisian train station is brought to life in this way, it's like sitting in front of a van Gogh landscape and smelling the place.
Hugo keeps coming into my mind, weeks after I saw it, without disturbing me in the process. That's enough to say it was good.