HUGO has become everyone's darling. It's a movie with TITANIC-era gloss and pomp, with a magnificent array of schmaltz.
Schmaltz can be a good thing. I don't respond to it necessarily, in general, but HUGO is undeniably appealing to many movie-goers. Maybe in a depressed economy HUGO's the kind of movie, like STAR WARS in its time, which creates a world of fun and innocence by which people can pack up their cares and woes for a while.
In the 1940s, Hollywood turned into the singing and dancing machine, cranking out one silly shiny romantic and ultimately mass-fulfilling movie after another. In Europe, the same thing happened, except the Euro-version of Ginger Rogers was forced to dance around piles of bombed-out debris. No one wanted to see real misery during World War 2, so Hollywood and the other Allies produced sugary dreams full of leggy angels and darling quips.
HUGO is what I'd call "wisty-eyed." It's the kind of movie born of a complete lack of poignancy, yet so willing to please that you cannot fault it. You cannot dislike or remotely hate HUGO as a movie. Certainly, as I've heard, the book is brilliant and much-beloved.
HUGO in 1973, a Martin Scorcese picture.
Two and half hours of HUGO later.
It's alive, and intends to stay that way.