Martin Scorsese's "Hugo" — one of last year's best films — hits home video, straight off its ups and downs at the Oscars: five wins out of 11 nominations isn't anything to complain about, except the other six included all the biggest categories.
"Hugo" was notable for its 3D — one of only three films (out of the dozens in the last five years) where the extra depth didn't seem like a superfluous gimmick. In the 20-minute “Making of” supplement, one of the principals accurately says, “The 3D is part of the fabric of the storytelling, not a gimmick” — which might have gone better unmentioned in the non-3D versions of the video release. Nonetheless, there is enough wonderful stuff in the film that even those without a 3D display (i.e., damn near everyone) shouldn't be disappointed.
The transfer is beautifully sharp, and the audio mix sounds natural. Extras are brief, but worthwhile: the above-mentioned “Shoot the Moon: The Making of ‘Hugo’”; 15 minutes of historical background in “The Cinemagician, Georges Melies”; a 13-minute history of automata (“The Mechanical Man at the Heart of Hugo); and the 6-minute “Big Effects, Small Scale.” Finally there's “Sacha Baron Cohen: Role of a Lifetime,” in which the former Ali G/Borat/Bruno impersonator talks trash about Scorsese and everyone else on the set, except the dogs, and the director responds in like manner. I'm embarrassed to admit that I was suckered in until about halfway through, when Baron Cohen refers to the “inexperienced” Scorsese.
"Hugo" (Paramount Home Entertainment, Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy, 3 discs, $54.99; Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy, 2 discs, $44.99; DVD, $29.99)
ANDY KLEIN is the film critic for Marquee. He can also be heard on “FilmWeek” on KPCC-FM (89.3).Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun