Late yesterday we ran a little trailer/featurette intro to Hugo 3D that was to play before the film’s unfinished debut at the New York Film Festival. I reiterated my excitement for the film, and now it’s time to see if the responses merit the expectations! Since there’s been but the one limited screening only a few hours ago responses are limited, but I have a hunch you’ll quickly pick up on the same consensus as I have.
First up are some twitter responses from some delightful web people. Jordan from The Film Stage for example, found the film to be as innovating as the films to which it was paying tribute:
That is exactly what I’ve been hoping to hear since the first suggestions that he’d be mirroring the magic of Méliès with the use of 3D. While I’m curious to find out exactly what distinguishes the first act from the rest of the film, I’m excited that there’s innovative work being done here.
Ed Douglas is the first to outright suggest that the film is not an unimpeachable success, as he alludes to a coming critical divide. Might the film history lesson go too deep, or does Scorsese’s handle on the film’s story loosen as the film goes on? Too early to call.
Erik Davis of Movies.com also seems to carry some enthusiasm for the movie, though he is definitely a manifestation of the aforementioned divide and he alludes to a messiness criticism that pops up in many of the responses.
Meanwhile, JoBlo brings up the same ambivalence, with a more specific suggestion that Scorsese’s first family film may not quite add up to a well-rounded whole (pardon the highlighting thing in the cap, text was displaying wonky on that particular page).
Finally, Katey Rich at CinemaBlend has already spit out a critique of some length, and makes no bones about how drastically Scorsese has redefined the terms of what 3D can bring to film grammar, and reset the bar for how well the format can be used:
The 3D technology links directly back to the wonder that French audiences felt when they first saw moving pictures, so lifelike they were convinced the train coming into the station would run them over; Scorsese looks at the people who call 3D a gimmick, compares us to those who thought motion pictures were a fad a century ago, then goes on to show us what’s probably the most gorgeous live-action 3D film ever made. The 3D isn’t just a new cinematic trick for Scorsese to play with, but inherently tied to the narrative, a key element that shines up everything else around it.
That said, she too alludes to the film’s distracted narrative that is as concerned with shoehorning spectacle and beauty into the film as telling a streamlined story. The criticism is not damning, but it punctuates a common thread in the very very early consensus on the film. Happily though, it also confirms that the involvement of Méliès and early film technology (and, apparently, the idea of film preservation) is not a fleeting affectation of the movie, but rather something important and central to the story. I couldn’t be more excited to see for myself.
That’s the long and short of it at the moment… a mere few opinions to be sure, but these are all people with discerning taste and a keen eye, so I trust that they’re as accurate a barometer as any. Now it’s just a wait for the film to be finished and to see how much Scorsese tinkers and tightens between now and release…