A family-friendly adventure about adorable orphans, wind-up toys that can only be operated by heart-shaped keys, and other assorted childlike magic and wonder seems like the last thing you’d expect from Martin Scorsese—and that’s true even after watching this trailer, where the appearance of Scorsese’s name is easily the most jarring thing about the otherwise safe and saccharine proceedings. No pens being jabbed into jugulars, no “De Niro stomp,” no frazzled-looking Leonardo DiCaprio, and certainly no “Gimme Shelter” (in fact, it boasts a 30 Seconds To Mars song). The only dangers lurking here come in the form of Sacha Baron Cohen as a bumbling, Clouseau-esque station inspector, whose dogged pursuit of Asa Butterfield and Chloë Moretz finds him stumbling through various slapstick sequences involving dogs and conveniently placed wedding cakes.
Did we mention it’s also in 3-D, and boasts the sort of generic, gold-tipped font title cards normally reserved for Nanny McPhee movies? Because it does. And yet, Hugo really is a Martin Scorsese film, and while he’s certainly carved out a niche for himself that makes us expect certain things from him, he’s also more than earned the benefit of the doubt to try something wildly different. It’s probably too early to tell from just the trailer whether he’s managed to put his own stamp on the children’s movie, or whether his style was crushed by the confines of the genre, but either way we're curious to see it.