- Aspect Ratio: 1:78:1
- Video Codec: MVC (3D); AVC/MPEG-4(2D)
- Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz/24-bit), English Audio Description, French, Portuguese, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
- Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish
- Region: ABC (Region-Free)
- Rating: PG-13
- Run Time: 126 Mins.
- Discs: 3 (1 x Blu-ray 3D + 1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD + UltraViolet Digital Copy)
- Studio: Paramount Home Media Distribution
- Blu-ray Release Date: February 28, 2012
- List Price: $54.99
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(All Blu-rayDefinition.com screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
I had an interesting, but pleasant, confrontation with my advancing age a few months ago when of my cousins’ sons, eleven-year-old Jared, admirably an avid reader, enlightened me about Hugo. “Have you seen the movie Hugo yet?” I asked. “Oh, isn’t that the one from the book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret?” “It’s a book?” I said surprised. “Yeah, I read it already, but I didn’t see the movie. I’m reading another book by him now.” Him, of course, being Brian Selznick, author of the original novel from which Martin Scorsese’s first venture into 3D filmmaking was based. The film had looked very interesting to me and I had heard good things about it, but that it was actually from a children’s book had taken me by surprise – a clue that I was getting too old to keep up with that segment of the literary world I guess.
This magnificent and wondrous tale, part fantasy, part historical fiction, is almost custom tailored for Scorsese. Hugo is as much about the triumph of the human spirit and longevity of creativity as it is, like Giuseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso, a love letter from the filmmaker to the history of his passion, filmmaking.
The story follows the young orphan “tween” boy Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield) whose father was a clockmaker who worked in a museum and discovered an automaton – a human-shaped, robot-like creature with mechanical insides — propped up at a desk with pen and paper prepared to write something. As Hugo’s father died before he was able to finish repairing the automaton and discover what secrets it held, he passed down to Hugo a notebook filled with all his notes and drawings on how to repair the robot.
Picking up his father’s obsession as his only way to cope with being alone and hoping that the automaton might yield a message from his father, the young Hugo, making his home inside the walls of a Paris rail station, keeping the clocks working in order to keep anyone from prying, and pilfering what he needs to survive, sets out on a journey that will lead him to another young, more privileged orphan girl, Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz). Together, the two children delve ever more deeply into the mystery that the automaton holds, drawing the ire of Isabelle’s godfather, Papa Georges Méilès (Ben Kingsley), the owner of a toy shop in the rail station who, for reason’s unbeknownst to the children, wants them to end their inquiries into the history of the automaton.
To discuss the plot any further would be to give up its secrets, but lets go on by saying this – Hugo is a heartfelt ode to childhood and cinema. The beautiful imagery that Scorsese captures in this tastefully done special effects extravaganza also rather superlatively evokes the essence of the style of Selznick’s writing – stories told partially through elaborate illustrations, partially through prose that cannot be separated from one another. Hugo, as a film, cannot be separated from its dreamlike imagery, childlike wonderment and historical references.
Captured originally in 3D with the Fusion System and Arri Alexa HD cameras, Hugo looks magnificent in 3D on Blu-ray, just as one might expect for a first 3D outing from Martin Scorsese. With a natural amount of dimensionality used, rather than explicitly gimmicky pop-out, although there are some well used moments of that also, Hugo is a treat that doesn’t suffer too badly from loss of resolution or color reproduction in the 3D realm.
The 2D presentation is equally enticing. There is a necessary loss of front to back depth leaving the 3D realm, but colors are a bit bolder and detail and contrast slightly stronger in the all digital production.
A 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack is provided for both 3D and 2D versions and the extra surround back channels are put to splendid use from the very beginning. The sound here is big without being overwhelming or pushed to the limits absent a sense of dynamics. The mix allows for breathing room, letting up with lulls, never becoming too loud and audacious, but hitting with a wallop of special effects when need be, like the scene with the train running off its tracks and going right over your head into those two back channels. The lows are extended well down into the farthest reaches of the spectrum, but do not become untamed, high frequencies are open and airy, and vocals are natural without clipping.
Hugo has been granted a small, but solid package of 1080p extras that make for an interesting addendum to this fascinating film, Additionally, this 3D Combo Pack includes the 2D Blu-ray, DVD, and UltraViolet digital copy.
- Shoot the Moon (The Making of Hugo) (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:19:48) – This brief making of offers up a few interviews with the cast and crew, including Martin Scorsese and Sir Ben Kingsley.
- The Cinemagician, Georges Méliès (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:15:41) – A quick discussion of the life and career of pioneer filmmaker Georges Méliès
- The Mechanical Man at the Heart of Hugo (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:12:45) – Historians offer up interesting information on automata.
- Big Effects, Small Scale (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:05:55) – A deconstruction of the train derailment scene from Hugo.
- Sacha Baron Cohen: Role of a Lifetime (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:03:33) – A comical discussion of the comedic actor’s involvement in the film.
- UltraViolet Digital Copy
The Definitive Word
A true joy to watch, this is like two films in one, an encouraging children’s tale and an artist’s life-affirming ode to the power of cinema. Who says all 3D is bad? Hugo proves that in the right hands, such as a master like Scorsese, and with the right material, it can be inspiring. Never worry, however, even without the added dimension of 3D, Hugo remains a thrill. Recommended, without hesitation.
Additional Screen Captures
Tags: 1080p/24, 3D, Adventure, AVC/MPEG-4, Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, Digital Copy, Drama, DTS-HD Master Audio, DVD, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Hugo, Kids, Kids & Family, Paramount Home Media Distribution, Sir Ben Kingsley, UltraViolet