The world got its first look at Martin Scorsese’s debut in the family film market as the first trailer for Hugo is released. Based on the beloved “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick, it is one of the most highly-anticipated movies of the year. Set in the 1930s, Hugo (Asa Butterfield) lives with his father (Jude Law) in the large clock within the walls of a Paris train station. When tragedy strikes, Hugo is left to fend for himself against the outside world. He is soon wrapped up in a mystery involving an automaton, a toy seller (Ben Kingsley), and a young girl named Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moretz). Selznick’s book used a highly unusual mixture of half written, half illustrated storytelling. It might go several dozen pages using only pictures before jumping back to the written word mid-sentence. That the trailer resembles these illustrations so greatly is very promising.
Many have scratched their heads at the idea of the great bushy-browed helmer telling a fantasy story centered around children. However, a large part of the source material deals with the birth of cinema, a topic with which Scorsese couldn’t be more familiar. There are few, even in his profession, who are as passionate and knowledgeable about film as he. Those who have read the book will see many familiar scenes leap to life in the trailer: a ghostly automaton coming to life; a train crashing through a crowded station; an array of people dressed as fantastical creatures of the sea. To quote young Isabelle: “It’s Neverland and Oz and Treasure Island all wrapped in to one.”
In addition to the aforementioned, the stellar cast includes Richard Griffiths, Sacha Baron Cohen, Emily Mortimer, Christopher Lee, and Ray Winstone. Hugo winds his way to UK cinemas on 2 December, 2011.