I began watching Scorsese's HUGO again the other night on DVD. It's a film I want to like a lot more than I do. It fell flat for me even when I saw it in its 3D presentation and theaters, and a subsequent viewing on Netflix did little to improve my overall impression of it.
Still, there are some moments that really work. The re-creations of Georges Melies' studio and the making of his films are vivid and work quite nicely. I could watch those scenes again and again.
There is a really odd moment somewhere toward the middle of the film, when the two children take a journey through the history of film. Scorsese puts the film on hold while he delves in to an appreciation of the magic and power of cinema. It's obviously a highly personal moment for Scorsese, and there's no denying that there is something powerful about the sequence, but it still stands out quite sharply, almost like a scene from another movie.
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