“‘The cinema is an invention without a future,’ Louis Lumière supposedly declared at the dawn of movie history. The historical parallel in Hugo, meanwhile, is also partially a wink to the future of movies in the digital age: if film survived, and even thrived, in the twentieth century, then certainly digital cinema (in whatever form) will thrive in the twenty-first. The anachronism, though, is readily apparent in the film’s unapologetic nostalgia. Hugo is more about understanding present developments (digital cinematography and 3D exhibition) in the movie industry through past future(s)—the then-unimaginable potential of early cinema that even someone as visionary as Lumière apparently couldn’t see—than about actually imagining the still unrealized futures of digital cinema. There is an active resistance to imagining the future in favor of a reassuringly nostalgic look back since capitalism’s greatest strength may be shutting down the potential futures of possible alternatives.”

–Jason Sperb in Flickers of Film: Nostalgia in the Time of Digital Cinema