“The movies are our special place,” remarks the title character, and his words go a long way toward explaining how Martin Scorsese came to make a 3-D children’s fantasy. Adapted from a Caldecott Medal-winning book by Brian Selznick, Hugo tells the story of an orphan (Asa Butterfield) who lives inside the walls of a Parisian train station in the early 1930s, tending to its giant clock and scheming to rehabilitate an antiquated automaton his father left him. The boy’s quest leads him to the angry old proprietor of a little toy shop, who turns out to be none other than the pioneering fantasy filmmaker Georges Melies (A Trip to the Moon). Scorsese transforms this innocent tale into an ardent love letter to the cinema and a moving plea for film preservation, and it’s no accident that a clock figures so prominently in the action: movies may have the power to stop time, but time has the power to erode and destroy celluloid. With Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Chloe Grace Moretz, Emily Mortimer, Jude Law, and (God bless him) Christopher Lee.