Saturday, December 17, 2011

Hu Got To Be Kiddin' Me!

OK, up front: I'm just not a Martin Scorcese guy. I've said it before, I'll probably say it again. I can explain it any number of ways—he makes movies about topics I'm not particularly interested in, with people in them who don't seem to be worthy of the attention, for example—but when you get down to it, I'm just not into him.

I don't deny he has considerable talent. He makes beautiful movies. He knows how to block a shot and how to light a set. All that. But when I see his movies? I don't hate them. They just completely fail to reach me. I was mildly entertained by The Departed and seriously bored by (and slightly offended by the naivete of) Shutter Island but ultimately, his movies are just a big meh in my book.

So, I'll redundantly say of his new family-ish film Hugo: Meh. The Boy echoed that. The Flower thought it was okay, not up there with your average Pixar/Dreamworks film. What's different about this film, compared to other Scorcese pictures, is that I should have loved it, based on the subject matter.

The trailers are really misleading. This is not an animated child's film about mysterious city, robots and adventures. This is a live action movie with ridiculous, atmosphere destroying CGI pull outs to a completely fake looking 1931 Paris.

Yeah, it's Paris in the '30s again. The story is about a freshly-made orphan who lives in the service areas of a train station winding the clocks to cover for his drunk (and missing) uncle, while stealing parts from a toy repairer to try to finish a project he and his dad were working on right before his dad got killed by some really silly looking CGI fire.

The project is an automaton which, contra the trailers, isn't a robot or any sort of fanciful thing, but a genuine wind-up automaton, like they used to have in the 19th century. (Here, buy this $500 book through my Amazon link.) While occasionally Scorcese imbues the proceedings with a certain fantastical aura, the movie is a very literal period piece.

The plot crosses through the work of the grandfather of film sci-fi, Georges Melies, so I should have been in movie nerd heaven throughout most of the film. And yet.

Well, look, I've already said Scorcese just doesn't reach me, so anything I add is going to be gratuitous. That said, this is a self-indulgent film. Not horribly so, but enough to need to be edited down by half-an-hour. Kind of like how I could have edited this entry down and eliminated these last paragraphs.

If you're a Scorcese person, and a film person, you'll probably dig it.


  1. So, I'll redundantly say of his new family-ish film Hugo: Meh.

    Give it time. I felt the same thing at first, but the more I thought about the movie, the more I hated it. It's a terrible, terrible movie that is unsuitable for children or adults.

    Why is so much time spent on sub-plots involving minor characters no one cares about? Why is the main character so passive and why doesn't he use his talents more? If the main character is such a mechanical genius why couldn't he just make a heart shaped piece of metal and jam it into the automaton to make it work? Why is all the 3D action reserved for the first five minutes of the film and then completely ignored? Who has ever died in a MUSEUM explosion? And why are so many people so conveniently dead? Cuckoldry jokes?

    *shakes fist*

  2. The blessing of not being engaged with Scorcese is stuff like that doesn't bother me. I chalk it off to self-indulgence, and I never think of it again.

    But, yeah, everything you said makes perfect sense.

    Hey, didn't you say something about bestiality jokes in addition to the cuckoldry jokes, but I think I missed them.

  3. I posted this on Trooper York the other day:

    We watched an episode of "Boardwalk Empire" last night and were disappointed.

    The whole gangster genre as presented by Scorsese bores me. He can spellbind a lot of people but he can't get everybody. I really do appreciate his music stuff recently--he gives lots of overdue recognition.

    So shoot me already.

    I really didn't expect an answer and I didn't get one. TY's blog is going through some changes right now. For the better? Who knows.


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