Feb. 22nd, 2012

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I just saw Martin Scorsese's "Hugo". For a film giving tribute to the early pioneers of the medium, is sure goes out of its way to ignore established conventions of character and plot development, and wholly disregards current film language and pacing. The whole thing, from beginning to end, is a plodding, plot-defying montage of cameos and set pieces, drenched in the highest of fructose eye candy.

(I'd warn you of SPOILERS here, except the plot is so disjointed and secondary to the pretty images that it's pretty much spoiled from the start.)

The writing and dialogue is execrable: for example, if someone takes the most important thing in the world from you and wants to know why they should give it back, "Because it's mine" is a terrible answer. (Admittedly, saying "Because it was my dead father's and means a lot to me, and it's the key to finishing the restoration of a very complicated automaton" would have effectively ended the movie then and there.) If someone said "You're a thief!" to you, perhaps "My Father is dead and my Uncle is an alcoholic, and I have kept the station clocks maintained and running for months on my own- I only take food to keep myself alive" would be a more believable answer than shouting "No I'm not!" and running away. Again, if you have to resort to this sort of pathetic dialogue to keep the plot of your movie going, perhaps you need a better writer. And maybe a director who can stop wanking to the pretty pictures long enough to ask if the movie makes any sense.

Modern film has a language- you tell the story to the audience as much through camera work, pacing, and shot construction as through dialogue. Modern audiences are very aware of this, and when a director ignores that film language and relies on dialogue, it comes out sounding clunky and contrived no matter how visually compelling the associated images.

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growler_south

August 2012

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