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Arrow Releases Stunning 4K Special Edition of Martin Scorsese’s Hugo

Hugo” came along in a wave of films in which major artists were experimenting with 3D technology. In the wake of James Cameron’s “Avatar,” artists like Wim Wenders (“Pina”), Ang Lee (“Life of Pi”), and Steven Spielberg (“The Adventures of Tintin”) experimented with the form, but arguably the best movie to emerge from this trend was Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo,” recently released in a gorgeous 4K edition from Arrow. Something is lost by not seeing it in 3D, but the 4K remaster is almost as impressive, presenting an image that one feels like they can almost reach into and touch. Scorsese’s framing, focus choices, and color scheme pop in 4K better than on standard Blu-ray. It could just be aging—mine and Scorsese’s—but I appreciated the film on this viewing more than ever before. It's even more personal than I remembered, a story of a boy that is also the story of its filmmaker, a man as enraptured by the power of moviemaking now as he ever has been. This is a must-own with fantastic special features, including a video essay by one of our own.

As the great Scout Tafoya points out in “Secret Machines: Hugo and Film Preservation,” a new video essay for this release, Martin Scorsese is a part of most of the characters in this film, especially Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield), George Melies (Ben Kingsley), and Rene Tabard (Michael Stuhlbarg). Scorsese is both the child who marvels at the magic of cinema and the man who helped create it. And, more so every year, he is one of the form’s greatest protectors, a man who has worked to restore and salvage great films from around the world, sometimes assembled in excellent “World Cinema Project” releases like this one and this one. As Tafoya points out, “Hugo” isn’t just about movies but preservation. It’s about holding onto the magic and passing it down. One of the greatest gifts of art is sharing it with other people.

Of course, this is all subtext. On its surface, as Robert Richardson points out in his excellent new interview, “Hugo” is a film that Scorsese made for his kids. Whenever idiots claim that Scorsese only makes violent movies, “Hugo” is one of the first (of many) that reveal this lie. This is a gentle, beautiful film about a boy who lives in a train station and discovers that the toy shop owner is George Melies. Nominated for 11 Oscars (and winning five), it’s a beautiful film that somehow feels more powerful now than it did in 2011. Maybe it’s because it’s a film about time and how art can somehow defy it. Maybe it’s because of the deeply personal work that Scorsese has continued to do in projects like “Silence” and “The Irishman.” It seems like arguably our best filmmaker is using the last chapters of his life to really emphasize what matters to him, and that passion courses through every gorgeous shot of this Blu-ray release.

As is typical with Arrow, the special features here are fantastic. Not only does it include the aforementioned essay and interview, but there’s a great new essay from the excellent Farran Smith Nehme, gorgeous cover art, new interviews with author Brian Selznick and composer Howard Shore, and, tellingly, a commentary from an expert not on Scorsese but Melies. I believe that Scorsese would be happy that the chosen expert was about the subject of his film and not the filmmaker. Although they’re really one and the same here.

Buy a copy here.

Special Features and Technical Specs:

4K (2160p) debut of the 2D version of the film

Includes High Definition (1080p) of the film in 2D and 3D

Double-sided fold-out poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tommy Pocket

Illustrated collector's booklet with writing by film critic Farran Smith Nehme

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tommy Pocket


4K (2160p) presentation of the 2D version of the film in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible)

High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray presentation of the film in 2D and 3D

DTS-HD MA 7.1 and 2.0 audio options

Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

Audio commentary by filmmaker and writer Jon Spira, publisher of The Lost Autobiography of Georges Méliès

Theatrical trailer


Inventing Hugo Cabret, a new interview with Brian Selznick author and illustrator of the original novel on which the film is based

Capturing Dreams, a new interview with director of photography Robert Richardson

The Music of Dreams, a new interview with composer Howard Shore

Ian Christie on Hugo, a new interview with the acclaimed film historian and editor of Scorsese on Scorsese

Secret Machines: Hugo and Film Preservation, a new visual essay by filmmaker and critic Scout Tafoya

Creating New Worlds, a new featurette in which French film historian and author Julien Dupuy examines the life and the legacy of Georges Melies and his impact on cinema and special effects

Papa Georges Made Movies, a new featurette in which film critic and historian Pamela Hutchinson explores the days of early cinema

Melies at the time of Hugo, a new visual essay by filmmaker and writer Jon Spira

Five archival featurettes on the making of the film - Shoot the Moon: The Making of Hugo, The Cinemagician: Georges Meliés, The Mechanical Man at the Heart of Hugo, Big Effects, Small Scale and Sacha Baron Cohen: Role of a Lifetime

Brian Tallerico

Brian Tallerico is the Managing Editor of, and also covers television, film, Blu-ray, and video games. He is also a writer for Vulture, The Playlist, The New York Times, and GQ, and the President of the Chicago Film Critics Association.

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