Blu-ray Review: Amazing Transfer Brings Oscar-Winning ‘Hugo’ Home

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CHICAGO – Two films tied for the most Oscars this week and only one is available on Blu-ray as Martin Scorsese’s beloved “Hugo,” winner of five Oscars, hit the home market with one of the best HD transfers I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen hundreds). This movie looks beautiful in HD, arguably more so than it did in 3D in theaters. I have more issues with the film than most critics but the transfer perfectly amplifies the film’s strengths, downplaying its weaknesses. The special features are light but the video is strong enough not to complain. Blu-ray rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

While the storytelling in “Hugo” left me somewhat cold, it’s impossible to deny the craftsmanship on display on the technical side of the production. I may consider it a crime that Emanuel Lubezki didn’t win the Oscar for Best Cinematography for “The Tree of Life” but the amazing Robert Richardson getting another Oscar for his incredible skills behind the camera is certainly not a bad thing (he also won for “The Aviator” and “JFK”). And the Art Direction by Dante Ferretti, who has won the last three times he was nominated (“The Aviator” and “Sweeney Todd” before this), is just as striking. I’m not sure it should have won Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, and Visual Effects, but it’s easy to understand why it did.

With five technical wins, “Hugo” is clearly a feast for the eyes and ears. In other words, it’s time to stop the excuses as to why you don’t have a Blu-ray player yet. This title was made for it. The special features are interesting but I would have loved a commentary track from someone. However, the HD audio is amazing enough that it’s easy to see why no one wanted to talk over it.

Hugo was released on Blu-ray and DVD on February 28, 2012
Hugo was released on Blu-ray and DVD on February 28, 2012
Photo credit: Paramount

Welcome to a magical world of spectacular adventure! When wily and resourceful Hugo discovers a secret left by his father, he unlocks a mystery and embarks on a quest that will transform those around him and lead to a safe and loving place he can call home. Academy Award-winning filmmaker Martin Scorsese invites you to experience a thrilling journey that critics are calling “the stuff that dreams are made of.” (Peter Travers, Rolling Stone)

Special Features:
o Shoot The Moon: The Making Of Hugo
o The Cinemagician, Georges Melies
o The Mechanical Man at the Heart of Hugo
o Big Effects, Small Scale
o Sacha Baron Cohen: Role Of A Lifetime

“Hugo” stars Asa Butterfield, Chloe Grace Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Christopher Lee, Emily Mortimer, Ray Winstone, Helen McCrory, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Jude Law. It was adapted by John Logan and directed by Martin Scorsese. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD on February 28th, 2012. content director Brian Tallerico

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