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November 23, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Most critics are hailing Martin Scorsese’s Hugo with the passion of confirmed acolytes. Among all of them, Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle stands out as the apostate. Scorsese, he writes, is trying to live up to his “own legend,” trying “to impress us with a deluge of 3D effects.” The result, he writes, “is a movie that’s kinetic yet slow, whose joys are architectural more than spiritual.” Contrast that review with Roger Ebert’s in the Chicago Sun-Times, who has never had a kind word to say about the 3D process: “Scorsese uses 3D here as it should be used,” he writes, “not as a gimmick but as an enhancement of the total effect.” Ebert’s overall take: “We feel a great artist has been given command of the tools and resources he needs to make a movie about — movies.” Manohla Dargis in the New York Times calls the film “an enchantment … serious, beautiful, wise to the absurdity of life and in the embrace of a piercing longing.” Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times takes issue with a “slapstick element” involving a character played by Sacha Baron Cohen. But he, too, praises Scorsese’s use of 3D, writing that it “is exceptionally well thought out and essential to the film’s ability to make a children’s vision of the world come to life.” And in a four-star review in the Boston Globe, Ty Burr rhapsodizes, “Yes, Hugo is a family film and, yes, your children and your inner child stand to be enraptured, but the family Scorsese really made this for is the 100-year-old tribe of watchers in the dark.”