I have to laugh at all the people in this thread that didn't see one ounce of the genius that is Scorsese's use of the 3D presentiation.
I watched the 3D version first at home, then went and watched selected scenes in 2D and will tell you how 3D adds to the presentation.
First, this movie is a homage to film making. Scorsese and the book writer love the pioneers of film. Anyone that would argue that Scorsese is not one in his own right probably isn't really paying attention.
As the film moves forward, first begining as a mystery, then finally weaving in some of the story of Georges Méliès, the parallels between him and Scorsese and this 3D film become very apparent to any film buff.
Georges Méliès, in the film and real life, used his knowledge gained as a magician and his love for theatrics to pioneer story telling through film. Doing things on film you couldn't do in live theater.
His techniques and brilliant ideas in film production brought the "magic" of the stories he filmed to life. He pioneered many things, including crude colorization, multiple exposures, and other "film tricks" that continue to be used to this day.
Martin Scorsese takes us on a journey into the wonder and amazment people in the early 1900's must have felt going to motion pictures by adding a 3rd Dimension to his story telling.
For instance, in a scene where the protagonist is in a bathtub, apparently talking to himself, we find in a POV cut of the protagonist that he is in the tub with his dog and talking to it.
In 2D the beautiful set design makes the dog fade into the seamingly jumbled objects of the set.
In 3D though, it's as if YOU are there with the dog. It's nose in your face, as it would be in life. It completely changes how this type of movie setup / pay off plays.
In many other scenes throughout the movie where the young boy is seen peaking out through clock numbers, or heating grates, or from behind complicated mechanics, the sense of being there is heightened in 3D. We get the feeling of him safetly hidden from view, or from harm.
In a scene of a store front of Méliès' toy store, in 2D it seems a mess of objects one on top of another. But in 3D we can see it's a store brimming with product, placed carefully in front of, on the counter of, and inside the store. The depth added by 3D makes this seem like a real place, with a real man sitting bored at his storefront.
Hugo is a little slow for children, and probably most adults. But it's typical of Scorsese's style, either you like it or you don't.
Seeing re-creations of Georges Méliès filming his groundbreaking films filmed in 3D adds to and brings us some of the excitment Georges Méliès and those early film makers obviously felt.
It's hard to believe any film buff wouldn't be moved by Scorsese's amazing use of 3D to impart the wonder those early audiances also must have felt seeing the latest film techniques being used to immerse them and us into another world.
If you read the reviews of those that didn't like this film, it's because they go in not likeing 3D. And this is one of the very very few 3D movies that REQUIRE 3D to enjoy to it's fullest. It was made with 3D in mind, and without it the film seems a little flat