I just discovered that Georges Melies (played by Ben Kingsley) was in fact a real character and in fact the baseline on the story (with the exception of the automaton and of course Hugo) mirrors his life very closely, down to the small shop in the station.
I think you may have meant to insert this link:
The more I read about this story, the less it seems like merely a "fairy tale". In one account I found, Georges' automaton collection was donated to a museum, stored in a damp attic for awhile, only to be thrown away! and museum fires did threaten other works, as you will discover if you are interested.
Regardless, I walked into this expecting to see a children's movie.... far from it. "Hugo" was truly a learning experience for me about the early experiments in film, is it surely an important work. I consider it an instant classic, a masterpiece.
You MUST see it, and see it in 3D!!!
Incidentally I found many echoes of the French movie "Micmacs" in Hugo. Maybe because they were both a ethereal and set in Paris. Nevertheless I also reccomend Micmacs, although it is more adult and definitely more bizarre.
I agree, this is a must see movie. I suggest you don't read further till you have seen it, as this might prove to be a spoiler for you.
I have a few quibbles though. The story is essentially a fairy story and so must be fairly predictable, and I thought that the rationale for Georges' change in career was a little shallow.
To my mind the aerial views of the traffic around the Arc de Triomph we anachronistic. I thought the amount of light was just too modern.
I disagree with Max's assessment of Sacha Baron Cohen's part. I thought it was well done. Although this was not a comedic part I saw hints of many other movies in his performance, from the village mayor in Young Frankenstein (the guy whose fist is used as a battering ram), the German scientist in Dr Strangelove and even a bit of Inspector Clouseau.