Watch: ‘Hugo’ trailer features Sacha Baron Cohen, robots, and Scorsese 3D

07.14.11 8 years ago 6 Comments

Well, then.  That’s a little bit more “running into things and falling down” than I’m used to from my Scorsese trailers.

I have not read the book The Invention Of Hugo Cabret, but it sounds like a heady mix of influences, and the idea that Martin Scorsese signed on to make a 3D film aimed at kids because of this book is reason enough to pay attention to the book.  Today, we’ve got the first trailer for the film to give us a hint of what we’ll see when the film is released this November, and whatever I expected, it wasn’t this.

Brian Selznick, who wrote the book, was inspired by Georges Melies, one of the giants of silent cinema, and evidently the book was a combination of a novel, a picture book, and a flip cartoon, a combination of words and text that was designed to work as a puzzle as much as a narrative.  In his own words, the book is all about “Paris in the 1930’s, a thief, a broken machine, a strange girl, a mean old man, and the secrets that tie them all together.”  And based on the trailer, the film covers the same ground.

The first thing I take away from the trailer is that Sacha Baron Cohen’s love of the great Peter Sellers continues to manifest in the way he digs into his character roles, and he looks like he’s shouldering the majority of the slapstick here as a gendarme determined to catch Hugo Cabret, a 12-year-old orphan living in the walls of a Paris train station.  I’m not familiar with Asa Butterfield, who stars as Hugo.  I never got around to “The Boy In The Striped Pajamas,” although the Blu-ray did just show up here at the house.  And I never saw the “Nanny McPhee” sequel, even though my boys were big fans of it.

The real key to this film working is the chemistry between him and Chloe Moretz, the girl who seems to have the key to the mystery behind the automata that Hugo’s father left to him.  Knowing how the film plays out, I’m curious to see what people make of this one, because it certainly isn’t going to wrap up like any sort of conventional adventure story.  Scorsese working in 3D is reason enough to put this on my end-of-the-year calendar, but this trailer makes me curious now to see if all of the various ideas and influences can wrap up into something that works as a satisfying whole.

We’ll find out November 23, 2011, when “Hugo” arrives in theaters everywhere.

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