For Martin Scorcese, the underworld he explores in “The Irishman” is a comfort zone for his imaginative use of the camera.

But anyone who thinks Scorcese only makes movies about criminals should be reminded that he has, as well, created a moving drama about a widow searching for a new life (“Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”) as well as a touching costume drama (“The Age of Innocence”) and a musical starring Liza Minnelli and Robert De Niro (“New York, New York”).

Perhaps his most memorable film beyond the crime genre is “Hugo,” the director’s remarkable look at how loss stays with a child after his parent dies.

Based on the novel by Brian Selznick, “Hugo,” released in 2011, takes us to a massive train station in Paris in the 1930s where a young boy tends the operations of clocks as both his job and passion. Because his father unexpectedly died, and his uncle is irresponsible, the boy must hide from the police among the clocks and catwalks at the station. He becomes both resourceful about his life and determined to repair machines with moving parts, especially an object his father once brought home from a museum. Little does the boy know that his passion will lead him to the life of master French filmmaker Georges Melies.

The story is a lovely opportunity to celebrate a young man’s curiosity for the worlds he understands as well as the ones he’s yet to discover. This boy’s persistence and spirit endear him to many, including the goddaughter of a man who will play a significant role in his life. While the boy’s father may have left him at a tender age, he left the child with a strong sense of self, a developed set of values and a magical sense of wonder of what the world can be. As the film continues it offers a positive moral of the importance of pursuing a passion to give life a sense of purpose.

To tell this lovely story, master moviemaker Scorcese brilliantly places in the action in a wonderful 3-D setting. Leave it to this great director to finally create a reason to see a movie in 3-D. With this magical screen translation, he justifies the excitement in the movie industry about this technology. Visually, the film is a wonder. Never, in the recent use of 3-D in Hollywood, has a director acted with such confidence in how the added dimension can enhance a story. Rather than take a two-dimensional experience and “add on” 3-D tricks, Scorsese conceives the film with its full visual potential in mind. As his camera explores the train station, we are engulfed in the self-contained world of this magnificent facility. As the boy tries to escape from the police, Scorsese turns the chase into a three-dimensional run through the station. And, as the young boy travels his wonderful behind-the-scenes world of clocks throughout the building, Scorsese serves an incredible feast of visual delight. Always a most inventive director, there is no surprise that Scorsese would be the first to master how 3-D can enhance the film experience. What is surprising is that he would do this with a family film, not a genre he usually explores.

Adding to the appeal of “Hugo,” for Scorsese and for us, is how the film addresses the importance of preserving historical films. Certainly, with a major character being a filmmaker, this is a natural extension of the narrative. And Scorsese, an advocate for film preservation, reminds us of the importance of the issue. For those who love movies — of any age — the film is a delightful adventure in what films can be as it pays tribute to one of the great, early visionaries who believed cinema could capture anything.

“Hugo” is rated PG for “mild thematic material, some action/peril and smoking.” The film runs 2 hours and 6 minutes, and is available to stream online.