Neil Fox on film: Salute Scorsese, a true master

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Hugo

Some people think Martin Scorsese should only make gangster films, even though they number a small amount of his considerable oeuvre.

But the joy of Scorsese is in his diversity and love of pure cinema so it’s no surprise that he even manages to deliver a wonderful family movie in 3D.

He has sculpted an engaging and entertaining film about a young boy orphaned and trying to survive and complete his father’s work.

It is an intelligent and heartwarming story featuring an array of wonderful characters and some beautifully delivered action sequences – but at heart it is something else entirely.

This is Scorsese’s truest love letter to cinema in his exceptional canon of work.

Hugo is assisted in his adventures by a man named George Melies (Sir Ben Kingsley). He was the first pioneer of storytelling cinema and essentially the man who created special effects.

So, through the eyes of one of the greatest filmmakers ever, we see the birth of the art-form and spectacle with abandon, glee, style and panache.

It’s a hell of a ride and one for all the family, under the guidance of the authority on cinema and its power.

The fact that Hugo’s story is a mirror to Scorsese’s own – the hiding, trapped young man finding solace in film, not the orphan part – makes the decision to make this film seem wholly appropriate and fateful. A fantastic feelgood film just in time for Christmas.

The Thing

Part remake, part reboot, part prequel, all rip off. This needless and thoughtless reimagining of The Thing is a shallow, cruel cash in on the current desire to reboot classic movies and franchises.

I’m aware that John Carpenter’s sublime 1982 was a loose remake itself but it took the original Howard Hawks B movie as a starting point and delivered an original, terrifying and memorable film.

This is full of pretty actors and obvious scares as a group of scientists arrive in Antarctica and find a deadly alien monster in their midst.

If anything, it serves to show how groundbreaking and good Carpenter’s film was. More films like the original, please.

Happy Feet Two

Lacking everything that Hugo carries in abundance is this lacklustre follow up to a lacklustre first film.

Here, the young penguin is struggling to come to terms with his place in his colony and must help it survive the threat of destruction.

It’s such a patronising, cliché ridden piece that has no invention and mediocre animation.

The sooner films like this go straight to Sky, and the studios responsible fold, the better cinema will be.