This Thanksgiving weekend, 'Hugo' -- a movie that is being marketed to children, that was directed by the guy who once filmed a scene of a man having his head crushed in a vise -- will be released at a theater that's at least within driving distance of where you are sitting right this second. What is 'Hugo'? Why should you see 'Hugo' instead of, or along with, other family fare 'The Muppets' and 'Arthur Christmas'? As a service we answer every question that you could possibly have about Martin Scorsese's 'Hugo.'
Q: Is this the movie with the dog?

A: You have two things wrong here: You're thinking of Steven Spielberg's 'The Adventures of Tintin,' which you're then confusing with Rin Tin Tin.

Q: So the dog's name is 'Hugo'?

A: 'Hugo' is not about a dog. Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) is a young boy who lives in a Paris train station.

Q: Why does Hugo live in a train station?

A: Because his father (Jude Law) died in a fire, leaving Hugo parentless. He's sent to work for his uncle (Ray Winstone), who also happens to have a serious issue with alcohol.

Q: How many films has Jude Law been in this year?

A: Including the upcoming 'Sherlock Holmes' sequel, just three. Which is his limit since the Jude Law Movie Regulation Act of 2004 was passed.

Q: Is Hugo's uncle violent?

A: No. Just absent and unreliable. Hugo takes it upon himself to continue his uncle's job of winding the clocks at the train station.

Q: Why would Hugo continue to do this? Is the train station compensating Hugo?

A: Hugo does not seem to be getting paid for his efforts, but he does use his time at the station to steal parts to fix a broken automan that he and his father had been working on before his father's death.

Q: Oh, I remember Automan. It was a television series in 1983 starring Dezi Arnez Jr.

A: No, in this case, an automan is a mechanical man who, once wound, can perform certain tasks. In this case, Hugo's automan can write.

Q: What does the automan write?

A: Well, that's what Hugo wants to find out. He thinks it might be a message from his dead father. But his plans are thrown of course when he's caught stealing by Georges Méliès (Ben Kingsley) who turns Hugo over to the local train station inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen).

Q: Oh, does Sacha Baron Cohen reprise his role as...

A: No. Before you even ask, stop.

Q: Wait, the director Georges Méliès?

A: Well, yes. And Hugo soon befriends Méliès' Goddaughter, Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moretz).

Q: Is 'Hugo' one of your favorite movies of the year?

A: Yes.

Q: What can you say to convince me to see 'Hugo'?

A: Nothing. Because you won't. And most likely you have no idea that this movie is intended for you, not young children.

Q: Wait, does a gangster have his head squashed in a vise at any point during 'Hugo'?

A: No. 'Hugo' is certainly safe for children, but as the movie progresses, its central plot changes drastically.

Q: How does the plot change?

A: It becomes less a movie about Hugo and more a movie about Georges Méliès. I do fear that the more I say, the less surprised you will be while watching 'Hugo.'

Q: Because the dog, Tintin, shows up?

A: Oh for fuck's sake, Tintin is not a dog. Again, that's Rin Tin Tin.

Q: Ah, so Rin Tin Tin makes a surprise cameo?

A: Yes. Exactly. That's the big surprise: Rin Tin Tin, a dog that's been dead for 50 years.

Q: Will anyone see 'Hugo' this weekend?

A: That's the problem: If people knew more what 'Hugo' is about, they'd most likely be more inclined to see it. But, unfortunately, the more that's revealed about 'Hugo,' the less a person would enjoy the experience.

Q: Will you make an unnecessary analogy?

A: Sure! It's as if I were trying to sell you a clump of Play-Doh (I'm going on the assumption here that kids love Play-Doh) only hidden inside the Play-Doh is Georges Méliès.

Q: Is Hugo the best 3-D you've ever seen?

A: Yes.

Q: Is 'Hugo' Martin Scorsese's best work in the past ten years?

A: Yes.

Q: What film made you happier upon leaving the theater: 'Hugo' or 'The Muppets'?

A: The joy from 'The Muppets' was more intense, like I had just smoked an entire bag of Fun Dip. (I'm originally from Missouri, we smoke our Fun Dip to prepare for our eventual Crystal Meth addiction). But 'Hugo' left me with a more warming, all encompassing type of happiness. (You know, like from heroin.)

Q: Will most patrons choose to see 'Hugo' in 3-D?

A: Most patrons will not only skip out on depth, but will most likely skip height and width, too.

Q: If you could pick your own quote to be blurbed in the commercials for 'Hugo' this weekend, what would you pick?

A: "'Hugo' is en fuego" Mike Ryan, Moviefone

Q: Um... you realize that doesn't rhyme, right?

A: It's close. And I thought it was clever: you know, sticking with the French theme and all...

Q: No, it's not. I mean, really, it's not close at all. Also, that's not even French, it's Spanish.

A: Eh, fuck it.

You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.

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PG 2011
Based on 41 critics

An orphan (Asa Butterfield) embarks on a quest to unlock a secret left to him by his father. Read More

May 2, 2016
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categories Movies