I'm giving this four stars on a personal level but in talking to a relatively wide range of people about this is one of those films that sparks something of a mixed reaction. Some just found it hugely tedious and some delightful. I ended up in the latter category but after having travelled through the first category first due to a slow and unfocused first thirty or forty minutes.
Young Hugo lives among the machinery and crawlspaces of the gigantic Montparnasse Train Station having been abandoned by his uncle after the death of his father in a Museum fire. He lives and works among the clocks while trying to avoid the station guard and observing the many dwellers of the huge place. He also is working on a mystery...............a robotic automaton his father left him which seems to have a special lock that needs a special key to unlock his secrets. And Hugo's quest to unlock that very mystery will take him on a much bigger journey!
Partly because this film does not end up where you think it is going to and ends up being more of a 'Thank You' from Martin Scorcese to film and cinema itself.................but starts off as if he's making a (unusually lavish) kids film there's a sense of two totally different films co-existing here with a greater emphasis ultimately on the latter. Because of that film lover's may well get a considerably greater sense of warmth and satisfaction from the final results of the film's direction from about halfway in.
However, the visuals and gorgeous set design are certainly an eye to behold and some genuinely nice performances (especially Ben Kingsley, Asa Butterfield as Hugo and Chloe Moretz) round off the whole film very nicely.