Digesting Hugo


These are some preliminary thoughts from a first viewing of Martin Scorsese’s Hugo. I’m in the process of writing a chapter on representations of Georges Méliès for a forthcoming book, so this will be one of my primary texts, and I’ll need to watch it again. I thought I would assemble some notes as I go along. As a result, this might read like a string of disjointed observations at times, but hopefully there will be some points of interest for you along the way. I’m happy to discuss the film, too, and I’m aware that it has divided moviegoers in a way that it didn’t necessarily divide the critics. A quick perusal (which is all anyone should usually have to endure) of the IMDB comments page will give evidence of popular objections to the film. It was looking like a weighty flop on its domestic release, but Hugo will probably just about claw back its $170million budget  (the best evidence that this greenlit at a time when it looked like 3D was an infallible cash-cow) when the totals are added up from international markets. So, please leave me a comment if you have an opinion about this film.  Continue reading

The Hugo Trailer


If you’ve been a regular visitor to Spectacular Attractions (don’t worry – I’m not checking), chances are you’ve heard me mention Martin Scorsese’s forthcoming adaptation of Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Over the past few months the title has contracted, so that it is now going under the title of simply Hugo. It’s due for release in the USA on 23rd November, just a couple of weeks shy of the 150th anniversary of the birth of French film pioneer Georges Méliès, who plays an integral, but mysterious role in the story. At the centre of the tale is Hugo himself, an orphaned boy hiding out in a Paris train station and trying to discover the secrets of a humanoid automaton left to him by his father. Continue reading

Picture of the Week #58: Ben Kingsley as George Méliès in Hugo Cabret


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Spectacular Attractions has been following the progress of Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret since it was announced. It’s based on a beautiful book, has a top-notch cast, promises to re-imagine the possible uses of 3D, and best of all, it’s partly about one of my favourite film-makers, Georges Méliès. I’m hoping there’ll be some dazzling reconstructions of famous moments from his films. The casting for the role also looks to be an excellent choice, if these images of Ben Kingsley as both the young and the elderly Méliès are anything to go by.

Casting Confirmed for The Invention of Hugo Cabret


[See also The Hugo Trailer.]

The development of Scorsese’s adaptation of Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret continues apace, with the announcement of some pretty solid casting decisions. Spectacular Attractions is unnaturally interested in this film, partly because it comes from a beautiful book, but mainly because it combines two of my favourite things, Georges Melies and automata.

The cast list now includes Hit Girl herself, Chloe Moretz as Isabelle:

Asa Butterfield from The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas as Hugo Cabret:

And (Sir!) Ben Kingsley as Georges Melies, a fine selection, and one that hadn’t occurred to me:

Sacha Baron Cohen (just watched his nauseating turn as an Israeli tour guide on The Simpsons – a really misjudged and lazy episode) will most likely be involved as the station inspector. So far so good. But always skeptical…