Dave Actually Watches: Hugo 3D

This weekend, surprising no one more than myself, I got the urge to go see ‘Hugo’, Martin Scorcese’s adaptation of The Invention of Hugo Cabret in the theater and in 3D.

I know!

The 3D revolution/fad has for the most part completely passed by me. Until Friday I hadn’t seen a 3D movie yet because there were even fewer 3D movies I was interested in seeing than there are 2D movies. Nothing made me want to see for myself what all the hubbub was.

Honestly, I wasn’t even sure if I could do the 3D thing. My eyes don’t focus together properly, making things like Magic Eye pictures, old-school 3D, and even binoculars challenging for me. A ticket to any 3D movie was probably going to be a showing of How About a Migraine?

Still, Hugo was getting good reviews, I liked the source material, it seemed to be a fun time, so I thought it was a good opportunity to give 3D a try.

The movie itself is quite charming. It’s gorgeous to look at, the leads all do a great job (though Hugo himself is just a little too precious and mostly just required to look around with big wet eyes), it’s exciting, funny, and sweet. The story transforms, unexpectedly, into a love letter to The Movies, and even though I’m not a big fan of The Movies (it kind of ruins the “ain’t movies grand and magical!?” effect when you walk out of the theater and next door Jack and Jill is playing) it swept me up. Not all the parts of this machine fit together, and some are kind of forced into place, but overall it’s a good time.

As for the 3D, I’m happy(?) to report that it worked fine for me. So that particular excuse no longer applies. But while the 3D looked pretty cool, it was in no way essential to the telling or experiencing of this story. Had I seen it in plain old stone-age 2D, I wouldn’t think anything was missing. (This could be because, being a talented director, Scorcese knows he is directing a movie and not demonstrating the coolness of a technology; the 3D is not intrusive and acts as a natural component of the movie. However, I can’t really say this, since I haven’t seen any other directors handle 3D to compare.)

But boy howdy was it expensive. The two of us spent $40 on this night out, which includes a medium popcorn and drink (the people behind the counter were literally baffled as to why we didn’t want to spend a buck more — $12 instead of $11 — to get a large drink. Popcorn and a drink costing $11 and you think I’m looking to spend more?). On the one hand, the 3D is not particularly worth five extra bucks per person, but on the other hand, if you’re not going to see the 3D version, there isn’t much point in going to the theater at all.

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