When Martin Scorsese announced that he would make his first 3-D movie -- and a PG-rated family film, no less -- several of his fans pronounced themselves flummoxed. But we didn't know that the movie would be "Hugo," an exuberant, if occasionally uneven, adaptation of Brian Selznick's movie-inspired illustrated novel.
The film has been nominated for a leading 11 Oscar nominations, including best picture and director.
"Hugo" begins with one of the filmmaker's signature bravura tracking shots, this time through a cavernous train station in 1930s Paris. The camera is following the title character, a 12-year-old boy who lives secretly just below the station's ceiling. When he's not scrounging for food, he's gathering trinkets and tools to fix a lifelike metal automaton that represents his last link to a once-happy life.
For the most part, it's a somber affair, its self-seriousness only deepening when Hugo runs afoul of a grumpy toy seller and his goddaughter, Isabelle. But during "Hugo's" final 20 minutes or so, the film truly comes to life. With the director so clearly in his element, "Hugo" ends as a triumph, bursting with the poetry, verve and irrepressible love befitting a match made in movie heaven.
Info: Available Tuesday on DVD ($29.99), as a two-disc Blu-ray combo pack with DVD and digital copy ($44.99) and as a three-disc Blu-ray 3-D combo pack with DVD and digital copy ($54.99). Extras include the "Shoot the Moon" making-of featurette. Also, on Blu-ray, three more making-of featurettes and an interview with star Sacha Baron Cohen.
*"Puss in Boots," the feature-length animated spinoff -- a star turn for the popular "Shrek" supporting character voiced by Antonio Banderas -- is almost shockingly good. The character is still something of a delusional Casanova, and the action is still set in the world of fairy tales, but the story has been given a spicy spaghetti western kick.
"Puss in Boots" centers on Puss' efforts to steal the goose that lays the golden eggs from a giant's castle in the clouds. Assisting him in this adventure are his childhood pal Humpty Dumpty and rival cat burglar Kitty Softpaws, who is, naturally, the love interest for Puss. Their competition is a pair of outlaws, Jack and Jill, played by Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris. Contains cartoon action, a death and a bit of earthy humor.
Info: Available today from Dreamworks as a single-disc DVD ($29.99), two-disc Blu-ray combo pack with DVD and digital copy ($39.99) and three-disc 3-D Blu-ray with DVD and digital copy ($54.99). Extras include two featurettes ("Purr-fect Pairings: The Voices Behind the Legends," "World of DreamWorks Animation") and deleted scenes. Blu-ray exclusives include "A DreamWorks Fairytale," "Puss' Paw Pouncing Challenge" and trivia.