"...suddenly we have the cinema - that glorious mutt art." - Josh Larsen, Rotten Tomatoes (2013)
"Le Voyage Dans La Lune" Movie Poster (1902)
Georges Melies' Le Voyage Dans La Lune (1902), translated to "A Trip to the Moon", is a short silent film that follows a relatively small group of astronomers, who travel to the Moon via a bullet-like capsule that is fired towards the Moon. Upon reaching their destination, they explore the Moon's surface before encountering some of it inhabitants in a mushroom filled cave. The astronomers manage to escape from danger and return to Earth, by falling rather comically, it has to be said.
Le Clair De Terre (1902) "Le Voyage Dans La Lune" Concept Art
The film draws inspiration from the works of Jules Verne, in particular from From the Earth to the Moon (1865) and Around the Moon (1870). These sources of inspiration helped the film to tell a memorable story, regardless of it's short run time. To the modern audience, it may be quite comical at times, whether it's due to the manner of which the astronomers returned to Earth, the fact they were able to breath on the Moon without any kind of oxygen source or just because of it's poor effects, by today's standard. The film demonstrates the lack of knowledge of Space and the Moon in the early 20th and late 19th century. This therefore highlights Melies' level of imagination as he managed to create a story with a very little amount of understanding with regards to traveling to the Moon. The special effects used in the film were rather revolutionary, for that period, and helped create a foundation for all films, not just sci-fi. Melies proved that any world could be visited and he helped inspire later film makers to push the boundaries as to what could be created.
The Moon's underground cave of Mushrooms
The modern soundtrack, that can be chosen, seemed a little out of place as there were sections which didn't reflect what was happening on the screen. One example was when tense music was being played while the astronomers were having their meeting, at the beginning of the film. No clear sense of tension was shown and so the music felt misplaced. It has to be said, however, that it did have a whimsy rhythm, at times, and did work perfectly with the rather silly movement and actions of the characters. The setting wasn't created through a big budget, that we come to expect with modern sci-fi films, but was primarily created through a painted board that showed the distance.
Astronomers sleeping on the Moon's surface.
Le Voyage Dans La Lune is known to be one of, if not the first, science fiction film and it is clear how it has affected the great Sci-Fi films since. The film has all the elements that are still in modern sci-fi films: travelling into the unknown, encountering aliens/mythical creatures, big special effects etc. "It has all the elements that characterize the science-fiction genre: adventurous scientists, a futuristic space voyage, special effects such as superimpositions, and strange aliens in a far-off place." - Filmsite review. It is a clear pioneer for the genre and will therefore always be considered as one of the greatest.
Le Voyage Dans La Lune (1902) Directed by Georges Melies - France: Star Film Company
Larsen, John (2013) Le Voyage Dans La Lune (1902) Review - http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/le_voyage_dans_la_lune/ (Accessed 23/09/2014)
- http://www.larsenonfilm.com/a-trip-to-the-moon. (Accessed 23/09/2014)
Filmsite Movie Review - Le Voyage Dans La Lune (A trip to the Moon) (1902) - http://www.filmsite.org/voya.html (Accessed 23/09/2014)
Le Voyage Dans La Lune Movie Poster (1902) - http://wattsatthemovies.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/le_voyage_dans_la_lune_poster.jpg (Accessed 23/09/2014)
Le Clair De Terre (1902) "Le Voyage Dans La Lune" Concept Art - http://astronaut.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/042_le_voyage_dans_la_lune_theredlist.jpg (Accessed 23/09/2014)
The Moon's underground cave of Mushrooms. Le Voyage Dans La Lune (1902) http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-LGOB_ksURhM/UAi9aDlDRCI/AAAAAAAAHG8/kkxW1_iJ1LY/s1600/mushrooms+again.jpg (Accessed 23/09/2014)
Astronomers sleeping on the Moon's surface. Le Voyage Dans La Lune (1902) - http://odysseeducinema.fr/galerie/Le%20voyage%20dans%20la%20lune/LeVoyageDansLaLune6.jpg (Accessed 23/09/2014)
Neyland, Nick (2012) La Voyage Dans La Lune: http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/16255-le-voyage-dans-la-lune/ (Accessed 23/09/2014)