Archive for the Family Category

Maleficent

Posted in Adventure, Family, Fantasy with tags on June 5, 2014 by Mark Walker

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Director: Robert Stromberg.
Screenplay: Linda Woolverton.
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Lesley Manville, Juno Temple, Isobelle Molloy, Michael Higgins, Kenneth Carnham, Vivienne Jolie-Pitt.

I had wings once, and they were strong. But they were stolen from me

Better known for his visual effects supervision on such films as “Life of Pi“, or more significantly, as production designer on “Oz: The Great And Powerful” and winning consecutive Oscars for “Avatar” and “Alice In Wonderland“, Robert Stromberg now delves into his first directorial outing with a reimagining of the classic fairy tale, “Sleeping Beauty“. Much like the aforementioned “Oz“, the characters from this well known children’s story are playfully recreated in a lush and involving fantasy and with Stromberg’s expertise who better to take us on that journey?!…

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Spirited Away * * * * 1/2

Posted in Adventure, Animation, Family, Fantasy with tags on September 3, 2013 by Mark Walker

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Director: Hayao Miyazaki.
Screenplay: Hayao Miyazaki.
Voices of: Daveigh Chase, Jason Marsden, Suzanne Pleshette, Michael Chiklis, Lauren Holly, John Ratzenberger, Tara Strong.

Having co-founded Studio Ghibli in 1985 and directed 11 films himself, the highly unique animator Hayao Miyazaki has unfortunately announced his retirement. The forthcoming “The Wind Rises” will be his last venture, so it now seems like a good time to look back at arguably his best film.

Chihiro is a 10 year old girl who is moving to a new neighbourhood when her father decides to take a short cut and gets the family lost in an abandoned theme park. Helping themselves to food that’s on display, Chihiro’s parents are transformed into pigs and it soon becomes clear that they have stumbled into an alternate reality. Chihiro is then forced to find a way to free herself and her parents and find a way back to the human world.

Quite simply, Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away” is a triumphant, fantastical, masterclass. Not only is his hand drawn animation as gorgeously refined and refreshing as ever, but his storytelling incorporates everything from the mythical to the magical, taking us on a truly breathtaking visual and intelligent journey. As his later film “Ponyo” would channel the likes of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid“, here, Miyazaki has undoubtedly crafted his version of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice In Wonderland” and it’s in this similar realm of imagination that he is able to flourish. We are introduced to a myriad of fantastical figures from Gods, Spirits and Witches to a Sea Dragon, an enormous baby and strange little coal miners, known as “Sootballs”. Despite the rich hand drawn animation, though, it’s not all played for fun. It’s a rights-of-passage tale about the progression of a child to adulthood while finding the time to comment on the economic downturn of Japan and the increasing loss of it’s culture to the western world. It’s this very complexity that makes this Miyazaki’s near masterpiece. The only issue with the film is that it’s overlong, resulting in periodic disengagement – especially for younger viewers. It’s runs just over the two hour mark and this is with several parts of the story cut out- the original version of Miyazaki’s story would have run over the three hour mark. That being said, this is still one of animation’s true classics and thoroughly deserving of it’s Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2002.

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A breathtaking tour de force from one of the finest and most imaginative storytellers that animation has ever seen. Sadly, there will only be one more outing from Miyazaki but thankfully we’ve had to the pleasure to enter into his creative genius at all. Such accomplished cinematic experiences will be sadly missed.

Mark Walker

Frankenweenie * * * *

Posted in Animation, Family, Horror with tags on March 25, 2013 by Mark Walker

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Director: Tim Burton.
Screenplay: John August.
Voices: Charlie Tahan, Winona Ryder, Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Landau, Atticus Shaffer, Robert Capron, Conchata Ferrell, James Hiroyuki Liao, Dee Bradley Baker, Frank Welker.

Tim Burton has occasionally been involved in animated movies throughout his career, having served as producer on “The Nightmare Before Christmas“, “James & The Giant Peach” and “9“. However, the only time he’s actually been behind the camera on any of them was “Corpse Bride” in 2005 and his animated short in 1984 “Frankenweenie” – of which this is a feature length expansion of. Some may feel that he’s treading old ground here but there’s no doubt that this is still a highly successful endeavour.

Victor Frankenstein is a lonely young boy who’s best friend is his energetic dog, Sparky. When Sparky is run over and killed by a car, Victor is devastated but he refuses to give up hope of spending time with his beloved friend again. Inspired by his science teacher, he decides to rig up a laboratory and harness the lightning to bring Sparky’s corpse back to life. His attempts are successful but it soon causes havoc within his neighbourhood.

Burton has came in for a critical panning from many people of late (myself included). The major issue being his seeming inability to change his idiosyncratic style. With this latest venture into stop-motion animation, he has answered his critics with aplomb and it makes you wonder whether he even should change his approach when the results can be as good as this. Here, his gothic idiosyncrasies are entirely suited to this homage to director James Whale and his classic horror movies “Frankenstein” and it’s follow-up “Bride Of Frankenstein“. He also throws in some references to horror stars Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre and Vincent Price and includes a whole host of quirky characters – the one that stood out for me the most was ‘Mr. Whiskers’; a cat who can predict the future of others by the shape of the shit left in his litter tray.
Burton’s decision to film in gorgeous monochrome also adds to the proceedings, meanwhile, giving Mary Shelley’s classic literary tale his own spin and he (and us) has a lot fun in doing so. It also has a similar off-key suburban setting like Burton’s earlier film “Edward Scissorhands” and shares the same balance of that film’s darkness and humour. Younger children may balk at the unravelling of the darker tale but older kids and adults can revel in it’s decent into a reanimated, monster B-Movie which is entirely fitting and in doing so, never loses it’s sense of fun or feeling for the macabre.

A lot of animated films these days have an appeal for children and adults alike and the balance that Burton achieves here is proof that that’s not about to change anytime soon. One of 2012′s very best animated films and one of Burton’s best for quite a while.

Mark Walker

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Fantastic Mr. Fox * * * * 1/2

Posted in Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family with tags on September 13, 2012 by Mark Walker

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Director: Wes Anderson.
Screenplay: Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach.
Voices of: George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Wally Wolodarsky, Eric Anderson, Michael Gambon, Willem Dafoe, Owen Wilson, Helen McCrory, Brian Cox, Garth Jennings, Roman Coppola, Wes Anderson, Jarvis Cocker, Adrien Brody.

Director Wes Anderson’s quirky indie humour and off-beat dysfunctional characters have been very appealing to me over the years. Upon the news that he was adapting a classic children’s novel, using animation, I thought he might have been going a little too far outside his comfort zone and wondered if his idiosyncratic style would actually transfer to a different medium. Thankfully, my curiosity was put to ease as this did not dissapoint.

Based on Roald Dahl’s story about a sly and egocentric fox that always strives for better things for himself and his family, while seemingly oblivious to the dangers his quest for status brings to his family. He sets out to rob the three local farmers Boggis, Bunce & Bean of their possesions and attracts a lot of unwanted attention for everyone in the process.

Anyone familiar with Anderson’s idiosyncratic style will know that, despite this being animation, his approach hasn’t changed at all. It still possesses his wit and charm in abundance. The stop-motion animation takes a little getting used to but once you’ve attuned yourself to it, there’s no let up in the pace of, not just, Anderson’s visuals but also the characterisation and his daring in not being constrained by the medium itself. His eclectic use of music and screen captions are also present, making this every inch a Wes Anderson adventure. Credit must also go the voice cast; each and every single one of them inhabit their characters and deliver the sharp and intelligent dialogue to perfection, bringing the little stop-motion animals to life. These little creatures have more zest and life than most live-action movie characters are ever afforded and they add to another odd collection of dysfunctional family members that seem to be Anderson’s forte and feature regularly in his oeuvre.
For many, this is actually their favourite Anderson film. Personally, mine still sits with “The Darjeeling Limited” but this is certainly one of his finest, eccentric and most unique moments.

Not only does this foray into animation not disappoint, it actually thoroughly impresses. This is how it should be done. A subversive, cerebral treat for adults and children alike. “Fantastic” indeed.

Mark Walker

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Brave * * * * 1/2

Posted in Adventure, Animation, Family, Fantasy with tags on August 7, 2012 by Mark Walker

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Directors: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman.
Screenplay: Brenda Chapman, Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, Irene Mecchi.
Voices: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson, Julie Walters, Steven Cree, Callum O’Neill, Piegi Barker, Steve Purcell, John Ratzenberger.

Ever since “Toy Story” in 1995, Pixar Animation Studios have consistently delivered the goods. The only possible exceptions being “Cars” and it’s sequel. On the whole though, they have gained a reputation for delivering high quality and innovative story-lines. However, they have now reached a point where they are in danger of becoming victims of their own success. Nothing but the best is expected. This one attempts to go against their usual standard of storytelling and although some have criticism for it’s change of direction, I personally found it as appealing as ever.

In the Scottish highlands, bold young princess Merida (Kelly Macdonald) defies and rejects the services of her mother Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson), who has arranged for her to be married. Merida would rather hunt in the forests with her skills in archery and when her mother refuses to back down on her betrothal, Merida flees from the kingdom where she seeks the help of a witch (Julie Walters). This impulsivity brings a curse upon Merida’s family and one that she must undo before it’s too late.

Not only have Pixar changed their formula in having their first female protagonist in Merida, but they also had their first female director in Brenda Chapman. It was Chapman who conceived the project under it’s original title “The Bear and the Bow” but due to creative differences she was replaced by Mark Andrews. Added to which, Merida was originally to be voiced by Reese Witherspoon, who declined due to scheduling constraints. These post production issues could be the very reason why some critics claimed this film to be uneven. However, one of the silver-linings was the dropping out of Witherspoon as that meant that Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald could replace her. As it is, she’s perfectly fitting. What aids this film immeasurably is it’s authenticity in terms of it’s language and voice cast. It’s predominantly filled by Scottish performers and their delivery is pitch perfect. There are Scottish words and references peppered throughout, that although it’s not a requirement to understand them, the “patter” and idiom are well served and add a very personal touch that strike a chord and deliver many good laughs. Some characters are certainly stereotypical but they’re fun and endearing nonetheless and surprisingly, for a Pixar movie, there’s a lack of furry animals and cuddly toys to grab the attention of children – although Merida’s three little brothers are adorable. What this mainly has, is heart, passion and the welcome change of a leading female character with a strength and independent spirit. The mother/daughter relationship at the films core, possesses a real depth that Pixar are not usually known for. 2009′s “Up” touched upon it but human relations don’t tend to feature heavily in their films. This is a different direction Pixar have taken but it’s not, altogether, an unsuccessful one. Admittedly, the story is a tad light and formulaic and ultimately, it gives way to the films colourful pallet. But what a pallet it is; it’s simply astounding. The whole film is exuberantly done and visually it’s an absolute kick in the eyeballs; from Merida’s flowing, fiery red hair to Angus her mighty Clydesdale steed and the vast, abundant, Scottish landscapes. The attention to detail is near flawless and it marks a highly impressive new achievement in Pixar’s animation.

Okay, it might not reach the heights of the “Toy Story” trilogy in terms of imaginative storytelling but this is visually beyond anything Pixar has done before. At one point in the film, a character lifts up his kilt and playfully exposes his arse to another clansman, taunting him with the words “Feast yer eyes“. These are the very words that I would choose to recommend this sumptuous film… “Feast yer eyes” indeed.

Mark Walker

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Mirror Mirror * *

Posted in Family, Fantasy with tags on August 6, 2012 by Mark Walker

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Director: Tarsem Singh.
Screenplay: Jason Keller, Marc Klein.
Starring: Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane, Michael Lerner, Jordan Prentice, Mark Povinelli, Joe Gnoffo, Danny Woodburn, Martin Klebba, Sebastian Saraceno, Ronald Lee Clark, Mare Winningham, Sean Bean.

Former music video director Tarsem Singh has steadily built a reputation for himself in creating feature films with high visual flair. For anyone that’s seen “The Cell” or “The Fall” then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. This film follows a similar visual path but is so ponderous in the script department that it’s sleep inducing.

In a stolen kingdom, Snow White (Lily Collins) lives with her wicked stepmother (Julia Roberts) but when she attracts the attention of a handsome young prince (Armie Hammer), her stepmother banishes her. In the forest, she finds the company of seven dwarves who rally together to help Snow White reclaim the throne.

Tarsem approaches the old fairy-tale of “Snow White” in an impressive and innovative way by adding a bit of feminism into the mix. It’s a welcome female spin on the fairy-tale structure by having no heroic prince and making Snow White less of a damsel in distress and focusing more on her strengths. It’s a good idea but sadly, that is where the new and improved story ends. The delivery is so painstakingly slow and dull that any positives are soon forgotten about and there’s absolutely nothing else in the script that’s noteworthy. This is a real shame as on the surface of it all, Tarsem has put the work in and his creative visual approach is as apparent as ever. However, with a story lacking in any form of excitement or wonder the superb visuals get bogged in a very tedious affair. It also doesn’t help that the main focus is not on Snow White but on the evil Queen. Now this might have sounded good on paper but to deliver the goods on-screen, you need an actress that has gravitas and one with unquestionable ability. That actress is most certainly not Julia Roberts. She is given a juicy dual role and one that she could really have shown her range but, quite frankly, she blows it. Admittedly, I’ve never been a fan of her. I did like her in her Oscar winning role in “Erin Brockovich” but I struggle to think of any other memorable performance. This is proof again, that Roberts is highly overrated. Armie Hammer, on the other hand, adds a good bit of comic relief as the bumbling prince and Lily Collins makes an admirable Snow White; the least said about the dormant caterpillars that rest on her brow, the better though. Two words spring to mind – tweezers and pluck.
Overall, a very disappointing modern take on an old classic and no matter how good it’s dressed up, it’s ultimately hollow underneath it’s elaborate accoutrements.

Rich in detail but poor in delivery. In this version, Snow White might not eat the poisoned apple and slip into a coma but the audience certainly do.

Mark Walker

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My Neighbour Totoro * * * 1/2

Posted in Adventure, Animation, Family, Fantasy with tags on July 19, 2012 by Mark Walker

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Director: Hayao Miyazaki.
Screenplay: Hayao Miyazaki.
Voices of: Dakota Fanning, Elle Fanning, Tim Daly, Pat Carroll, Paul Butcher, Lea Salonga, Frank Welker.

Anyone familiar with the animated works of Hayao Miyazaki will be aware that he takes you into a fantasy world full of imagination and delight. I’ve managed to work my way through a lot of his film’s but this one had always eluded me. However, maybe it was my anticipation for this that left me feeling more underwhelmed than I normally am with his films.

Satsuki (Dakota Fanning) and Mei Kusakabe (Elle Fanning) are two young sisters who move to a rural house in Japan to be closer to their ailing mother in hospital. Upon their arrival, they begin to explore their new surroundings and find that there are strange little creatures who inhabit the old building and further exploration into the forest brings them closer to a giant furry sprite named Totoro, who they go magical adventures with.

Miyazaki’s film takes it’s time to get going. It starts off positively and there is an early introduction to his fantastical nature but he never fully explores it. It was more of a human drama than it was a fantasy adventure. However, no-one does it quite like Miyazaki and his film’s always possess a refreshing vitality. This still delivers on that front but isn’t as accomplished as “Spirited Away” for example. I think the main problem rests in the pace of the film; it too lethargic for children and a little too heavy on the drama. The fantasy element is wonderful when it gets going but it’s not explored as in-depth as I would have liked, leaving my concentration to wander. The fact that this is included in the IMDb top 250 is high praise indeed but it shouldn’t be held any higher than “Howl’s Moving Castle“.
I also found the English language version a little off-putting. I mean, how hard can it be to add dubbing over hand drawn animation? It’s not as if there should be a problem with lip-syncing but for some reason, this didn’t seem to fit. Speaking of the animation though, it is quite exquisitely crafted and proof that Miyazaki has been at the forefront of hand drawn material for quite some time now.

Not as entertaining as I would expect from Miyazaki but still a wonderfully endearing and affectionate tale from the hand-drawn Sensei.

Mark Walker

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We Bought A Zoo * 1/2

Posted in Drama, Family with tags on April 26, 2012 by Mark Walker

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Director: Cameron Crowe.
Screenplay: Cameron Crowe, Aline Brosh McKenna.
Starring: Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church, Angus MacFadyen, Patrick Fugit, Colin Ford, Elle Fanning, Maggie Elizabeth Jones, John Michael Higgins, Peter Riegert, Stephanie Szostak, J.B. Smoove.

Director Cameron Crowe is certainly no stranger to maudlin sentimentality. I have found a few of his films rather good though. I enjoyed “Singles” and “Almost Famous” and despite some critical panning, I found “Vanilla Sky” to be a bit of a darker delicacy from him. Even “Jerry Maguire” was decent. However, the abysmal “Elizabethtown” didn’t sit too well at all and I thought Crowe couldn’t crank up the excessive mushiness any further after that. I was wrong.

Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon) is a widowed father, bringing up his two children by himself after losing his wife to cancer. Things aren’t going well though as his son gets expelled from school and he feels the need to quit his job on an L.A. newspaper. He decides that a fresh start is needed for them all and takes his two kids off to live in a run-down country house with a run- down zoo attached. It seems like lunacy at first but Benjamin decides to refurbish the place and bring the zoo back to life.

There is a question that’s asked between two characters at the end of this film… “If you had to choose between people and animals. Who would you pick?” On this evidence, I’d chose the animals. The cheese factor is so high on the people that they may as well be walking chunks of four week old camembert. I swear I could see the mould on them. The performances aren’t bad per se but Cameron’s direction is so high on the schmaltz that I was crying out for a Travis Bickle to come and wash this scum out of the park. Someone to just take this zoo and just… just flush it down the fuckin’ toilet. Damon puts in his usual, likeable, everyman job and shows good emotive moments. The rest of the cast are also quite appealing and even Johansson’s pout is kept to a minimum. The only glimmer of anything natural here though, is the animals. Everything else is completely manufactured tosh. As mentioned, the problem lies in Crowe’s direction. He doesn’t let the characters breathe and develop on their own. He forces you to feel for them. He feeds you more shit than it’s possible to shovel at a zoo and my emotional state felt violated at his insistence. Subtle, this film is not. Stereotypical and predictable, it is. There’s an integral, recurrent, piece of fatherly advice that runs throughout…”You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” Maybe Crowe shouldn’t have actually applied this advice to himself. He may have taken that twenty seconds of insane courage but something ‘great’, certainly, DID NOT come of it. There is one word that’s correct about that quote though… ‘Embarrassing’. Crowe must be in the midst of mid-life crisis or something. It’s the only way you can explain such nauseating cloyingness. Is he compensating for something, or did mommy and daddy not pay him enough attention when he was a child?

If you have a sweet tooth, then this will be a real treat but otherwise, stick to something with a bit more zest and sharpness.

Mark Walker

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The Muppets * *

Posted in Adventure, Comedy, Family, Music with tags on March 2, 2012 by Mark Walker

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Director: James Bobin.
Screenplay: Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller.
Starring: Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Rashida Jones, Alan Arkin, Zach Galifianakis, Sarah Silverman, Emily Blunt, Whoopi Goldberg, Jack Black, Bill Cobbs, Jim Parsons, Neil Patrick Harris, John Krasinski, Judd Hirsch, Dave Grohl, Mickey Rooney.
Voices: Steve Whitmire, Eric Jacobson, Dave Goelz, Peter Linz.

It’s been a long wait (12 years) since the last theatrical Muppets movie and if this is the best they can come up with in that time, then I think the Muppets have had their day. It speaks volumes when Frank Oz, one of the biggest contributors to the furry little characters, dropped out because he was unhappy with the script.

Gary (Jason Segel) is the Muppets’ biggest fan. On a trip to Hollywood, with his Muppet brother Walter (voiced by Peter Linz) and girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams), to visit his heroes’ studio home, he learns of a plot by evil business man Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) to destroy the Muppet Theatre and drill the land for oil. The only way he can save the day is to find the disbanded Muppets and get them back together for a benefit gig.

‘Kermit’, ‘Miss Piggy’, ‘Gonzo’ and ‘Fozzie’ etc make their way back onto the screen for a new generation of kids, but in all honesty, I think it was more appealing to the parents who will fondly remember these great little characters from the television show “Sesame Street” which first aired in 1969. However, there is such a lack of creativity in this adventure that both generations should be disappointed. Yes, it’s great to see them again but their humour is seriously lacking. There are a handful (if that) of entertaining moments. It starts reasonably well and looks like it will be a good old fashioned slice of family fun but after the first couple of song-and-dance numbers (that aren’t all that great) you realise that this is all you’re going to get. Amy Adams is an actress I admire but she’s given little to do, leaving the limelight on Jason Segel who completely hams it up with some terrible acting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not expecting a thespian amongst a group of puppets but he seemed really self-conscious and out of sorts. The introduction of the latest Muppet ‘Walter’, was a decent device to be reintroduced to the old favourites again but it’s the lack of attention the “Sesame Street” gang are given that ultimately let’s the film down. The jokes are few and far between and the story (co-written by Segel) is weak and sluggish, to say the least. Added to which, the celebrity cameos – that have always served The Muppets so well – are even of a lesser standard. These old favourites deserve so much more.

This has received remarkable adulation since it’s release and I have to say, I sit on the side of the sceptics. A very disappointing reacquaintance that lacks the heart and wonder that these fabulous little characters brought to so many.

Mark Walker

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Hugo * * * 1/2

Posted in Drama, Family, Fantasy with tags on February 5, 2012 by Mark Walker

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Director: Martin Scorsese.
Screenplay: John Logan.
Starring: Asa Butterfield, Chloe Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Ray Winstone, Emily Mortimer, Jude Law, Christopher Lee, Helen McCrory, Michael Stuhlbarg.

“My friends, I address you all tonight as you truly are; wizards, mermaids, travelers, adventurers, magicians… Come and dream with me.” These are the words of magician/director George Méliès (Ben Kingsley) and also the very words of director Martin Scorsese in his love letter to all things cinema.

Paris, 1931. Young Hugo (Asa Butterfield) maintains the clocks of a great railway station while avoiding a guard (Sacha Baron Cohen) intent on sending him to an orphanage. Aided by Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moretz), Hugo gets an automaton left by his late father (Jude Law) working. It draws a picture, which prompts the children to delve into the mystery of an unhappy shopkeeper (Kingsley), at this very station, and his intriguing history.

Cinema is to be enjoyed and is the biggest, modern medium for means of escape. Granted, Scorsese allows us to escape here but doesn’t really escape to anywhere noteworthy. The whole film looks absolutely magnificent (thanks to Robert Richardson’s sublime cinematography) and Scorsese’s use of 3D is the best I have seen yet. He doesn’t rely on action set-pieces to get it across but concentrates more on the basics; snow falling, steam drifting and passers-by in order to fully immerce us in the grand scheme of things. It works a treat and looks wonderful but ultimately remains just a visual spectacle, instead of the adventure in which it proclaims to be. In fact, the biggest moment of entertainment comes from his use of archival footage of the great Harold Lloyd and his classic clock tower stunt from “Safety Last!” in 1923. There’s no doubt that Scorsese is a film buff and feels the need to remind us of the craftwork and illusionary beauty of some forgotten pioneers of cinema but he doesn’t quite achieve anything worth noting in telling his own tale. The use of 3D is magnificent (and sometimes distorting) but even that will eventually be bettered in time. Fine performances are included, young Asa Butterfield is commanding throughout but some, like Emily Mortimer, Ray Winstone and Christopher Lee, are wasted in thankless roles. In fact, the film has everything going for it but somehow, strangely, seems uneventful. As a visual spectacle it’s outstanding but also somehow laboured and tedious.

Maybe my expectations were too high going into this. Scorsese’s Oscar nomination for best director is well deserved but I found myself waiting for something to happen and… it never did. What it does do, is allow you to appreciate the craftsmanship and wonderment of cinema, and being Scorsese’s obvious intention, it at least achieves that.

Mark Walker

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