Now that I have seen the movie, I am super-duper glad I did. it is a gem of a movie, an ode to movie-making, and the 3D is non-intrusive, making you (the viewer) a part of the action as opposed to the target of it.
I should have known. Martin Scorsese, the director, is a man who has long professed a love for the movies and probably sees 3D as the wave of the future and wanted to make a definitive movie for the medium. Much like James Cameron's Avatar (the only other 3D movie that I recommend must be watched in 3D), Hugo is a movie that relies on the story as the hook on which to hang the visuals where a lesser director would make the mistake of doing it in reverse.
Some of the side characters are caricatures, behaving in a typically predicable manner, but at the heart of the story is the connection between the eponymous hero and an elderly gentleman who own a toy store played with great elan by Ben Kingsley.
Go, see the movie while you can on the big screen and in 3D, if possible. Then we can talk in more detail about the story and how it is, at its heart, a love story. A love story between a director and movies.
P.S. The only jarring (and sad) note for me was that the main protagonists speak in a decidedly English accent even though the entire action is taking place in Paris. *sigh*