As I perused a few stories this morning, I ran across /Film‘s very brief report on some reactions to test screenings of Hugo. A few tweets and a spy report of sorts suggest the film might be very good to great but it’s surely a small-sampled consensus. There’s also the nice suggestion that the 3D has been delicately integrated into the photography to genuinely contribute to the filmmaking of the piece. The 3D work of interesting filmmakers is what I’ve been holding out for for months, and one of the key reasons I suggested back in February that one shouldn’t make a final judgement on the format just yet: the most interesting filmmakers are just now hopping on.

BUT, regardless of the 3D stuff, there was something even more interesting than that snuck into the responses…

I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, so I won’t say how, but the early history of film plays huge part in “Hugo”. For cinephiles this is a great opportunity to feel glib about your knowledge, and for those who are less versed on the subject I think it offers an interesting history lesson. It’s clear that Scorsese had fun with this aspect of the film, which may very well have been a factor in his choosing to direct it. [sic]

You can read the full report at /Film.

Now we’ve know for a while that the book’s story is rooted in the work and hobbies of Georges Méliès, one of the earliest pioneers of filmmaking and certainly the first special effects director. Famous for shorts like A Trip To The Moon, the magic and theatrics of his film apparently inform the book, and it seems Marty might have lived up to the hopes I expressed when reporting that Johnny Depp had been caught on set.

For Hugo Cabret this dedication to the lastest technology is right in line with the spirit of the book itself, which is heavily influenced by the work and imagination of George Méliès, one of the earliest special effects focused directors. The book itself is also a multi-media experience that blends prose with pictures in a fascinating way, and seems to have inspired Scorsese to bring an equally varied set of techniques to the screen.

Frankly I was not all that much impressed by the teaser for Hugo, as it was oddly cut and very small in scope. It was such an early trailer though, I don’t fault it for showing limited footage. Getting a small hint that Marty has tied early film history into the film in a big way though… that excites me more than any trailer could. I would love for early film history to be more actively explored on the big screen, which has fueled my long-frustration with David Chase’s supposed HBO series Ribbon of Dreams, which would do just that. Having heard nothing substantive from that project for quite some time, I’m happy to hear another Italian master filmmaker is diving into the subject.

So my enthusiasm for Hugo has certainly ticked up a bit. Has yours?

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