One of the peculiarities of American life is that young people tend to see serious movies intended for old people while old people (like me) tend to see frivolous movies intended for young people. Everyone seems to love and be inspired by the Martin Scorsese movie Hugo. (Spoiler alert) The story concerns an old man who was a pioneer in the early movie industry and who, after World War I, found that his popularity had faded to the point where he could no longer make commercial films. No longer famous, he becomes a “loser” who does nothing more than support a wife and god-daughter by working in a toy shop inside a train station. A boy connects the old forgotten guy with a film historian in an attempt to “fix” the old man. I assumed that the “fixed” old guy would be able to resume his creative projects, but in fact the inspiring ending is not that the creative genius is able to work again in a creative field. The old guy emerges from obscurity to wear a tuxedo, attend awards ceremonies, etc.
The message to children in the audience seems to be “Achievement is irrelevant if you’re not famous; if you are famous, no additional achievement is required.” Certainly having an ordinary job and supporting a wife and child is not an outcome to be desired.
I’m not shocked that someone in Hollywood would have made this movie, but I am shocked that people would pay to watch it and more shocked that they would pay to have their children watch it. What if your kid ends up selling tires and coming home ever night to feed the family? Should he feel like a failure? What if your kid writes a bestselling novel and, 20 years later, is forgotten? Do you want him to feel like a failure?
[Separately, what do folks think of the 3D in this movie? I didn’t find that it added much to the story or experience. Mostly it just made me wonder what parts were animated and what parts were real(-ish).]