Before seeing Hugo, I didn't know that not only is the film based on a book, but that Georges Melies, the character that Ben Kingsley plays, is an actual person. Even if you treated the movie as pure fiction, however, it was a great film, and the fact that it is based on real life people and events only serves to make it more interesting.

Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas) lives with his father (Jude Law, Repo Men), a clockmaker, until an accident makes him an orphan. His uncle (Ray Winstone, London Boulevard), who maintains the clocks in the train station, takes him in, and puts him to work. Later, however, his uncle abandons Hugo and his job as timekeeper, forcing Hugo to continue maintaining the clocks so that he can continue to live in the small living quarters inside the clocks without suspicion. Hugo lives life under the radar, and steals food and also mechanical parts from the businesses and people in the train station, as he is working on an "automaton" that his father had been trying to fix. One day, however, he meets Isabelle (Chloe Moretz, Let Me In), whose godfather George Melies has a toy shop in the station (Ben Kingsley, Shutter Island), from where Hugo sometimes steals spare parts. Melies has taken Hugo's notebook, which has special significance to him, and he needs Isabelle to make sure it stays safe; Melies has threatened to burn it.

There were a lot of other characters in this film, and I do mean characters. Sasha Baron Cohen, known for the Borat movies, plays the Station Inspector, whose job is to make sure that thieving children like Hugo get picked up by their parents or, if they have none, put in the orphanage. He falls in love with one of the women selling flowers at the station (Emily Mortimer, Our Idiot Brother), but is very self conscious of his injuries he received in the war, and must develop his "smile" before talking to her. Another subplot features two of the Harry Potter cast, Richard Griffiths and Frances de la Tour, as people who frequent the station; Griffiths' character has a bit of a crush on de la Tour's.

Yes, see this film. My only complaint was that at 130 minutes, it was a little long; there were small scenes that could have been cut to perhaps make the movie shorter. The 3D was fantastic, even though it ended up giving me a headache (it was very "in your face"), and I would recommend seeing it in 3D if possible. The secret that Hugo and Isabelle end up finding out about George Melies defines the whole movie, and even though Hugo is set, for the most part, in a train station, it almost reminded me of a circus-type movie, such as Water for Elephants, because of all the fantastic elements involved in it.

Hugo is in theaters today, November 23rd, and is rated PG with a runtime of 110 minutes.

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