Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A Trip To The Moon (1902)

Super-awesome classic awesomeness, right in yer eye!

Genre: Silent Sci-Fi Adventure Fantasy Short (France)

Starring: Victor André, Bleuette Bernon

Directed By: George Méliès (The Magic Of Méliès; The Hallucinations of Baron Munchausen)

Overview: A group of scientists plan a trip to the moon, and build a giant cannon to carry the explorers to that new frontier.

Acting: The overzealous and melodramatic style must be taken with a grain of salt. Remember at this stage there was only theater acting, and given the quality of the recording medium, I'm sure that exaggeration was a necessary element. More than anything the acting adds to the feel of the thing, but don't tell me these people are expertly trained and directed. I mean the head scientist's hat falls off and they don't even reshoot.
Rating: 6

Cinematography: Have you ever seen a more classic image than the one above? No, you couldn't possibly have. You may have seen something with more of a Classic quality like Rhett Butler in Gone With The Wind, but this is over a century old. Film is now antiquity, and nothing will ever be more representative of its genre than this, not to me anyways. Man, is this ever original! The whole thing, all 14 minutes of it, was spectacular. I loved those aliens and their landscape!
Rating: 9

Script: The terribly accented narration, added much later (I'd bet fifty years later at least) did admittedly distract. I wished they'd left it out, but there were a few explanations I would not otherwise have figured out, like the seven angry star people. If there had not been any speaking at all, I have no idea what I'd have written here :P
Rating: 5

Plot: Without joking, I really feel that their reaction to what they find when they get to the moon is a comical yet frightening social commentary. To think that technology has already taken us this far in progress and a 1902 film gives us perspective on the inherent and irrational fear that lives in our human nature. Seriously, this film is more than a neat little story. It actually opens your eyes a little bit.
Rating: 8

Mood: This is the first Sci-Fi story ever recorded, and it's one of the first non-fiction stories ever captured too. Think of that. It's mindblowing. Now I'll do my best to ignore all that and judge it on its own merit. For the moon, the rocket, the sets, the costumes and everything else that makes this look fantastical, it's seriously tops. Those girls add a nice touch of the era for perspective, too.
Rating: 9

In the early days of space travel, explorers made exclusively use of the 'Space Condom'.

Overall Rating: 74% (One Hell Of A Trip Indeed)

Aftertaste: OK, ok, so I was wigging out there for a moment, thinking that I'd never see this short. You know, if this guy had any idea that his image of the moon with a rocket in his eye would be such an icon of originality and frankly, the birth of an entire art medium, would he have changed the film? Am I glad I saw this? What do you think? It's like seeing Walt Disney's first Mickey cel, or hearing His Master's Voice on a phonograph. You know what else? This is genuinely awesome material. I wish I'd saved it for guests. This is definitely worth owning, not to mention worth seeing.
on my 'seen' list from 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.