Martin Scorsese’s ‘Hugo’ is the most magical film of the year; in fact, the magic, invention and elation that inform our collective cinematic dreams extend beyond the intoxicating visual style and inform the picture’s main theme.

It’s a jaw dropping and gorgeous feast for the eyes, even if a few of the sequences of physical comedy could have been more playfully choreographed, and several transitions feel under-imagined, as if Scorsese decided to skip one step of the narrative process to get right to the payoff.

Yet it’s easy to see why this film is as close to Scorsese’s heart as any of his street wise gangster portraits. It’s about the enduring power of movies and the importance of preserving our film history for future generations.

The genius of ‘Hugo’ is that these themes are effortlessly embedded into the structure of a family film, and are specifically tailored to appeal to that next generation of movie lovers.