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Revisiting 'A Trip To The Moon' (1902)

Super-awesome classic awesomeness, right in yer eye!
What's really funny is that the rocket landed on his ORBITAL BONE! (no seriously)

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.

Though Le voyage dans la lune may not have been the first sci-fi ever made, it is certainly the most famous of those earliest ones, especially when considering that most iconic image above - one I use myself in one of my site's three title banners. The first time I saw George Méliès' Le voyage dans la lune (1902) was December 26th, 2006. I wrote my first review of this film that same day. Let me give you some highlights of that just-now-replaced post from 2006, in those Squish-as-blog-critic early days:
"Have you ever seen a more classic image than the one above? This is over a century old. Film is now antiquity, and nothing will ever be more representative of its genre than this."

"[The Explorers'] 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 and a 1902 film gives us perspective on the inherent and irrational fear that lives in our human nature. This film is more than a neat little story, it actually opens your eyes a little bit."

"A Trip To The Moon is mindblowing! It's like seeing Walt Disney's first Mickey cel, or hearing His Master's Voice on a phonograph. This is genuinely awesome material."

After my most recent viewing, in this age where space travel is a hard science, it is ever-present that in Méliès' 1902 world, it was a comical fantasy, what with astronomers represented more as wizards and the technical crew played by a pile of women in short shorts, all topped off with elaborately painted sets, oversized props and funny little aliens. I loved A Trip to The Moon in the beginning of my first-real-film-study days, and I love it still. I'll leave it to the other Blog-A-Thoners to tell you about the film itself. What I want to share is how today Le voyage dans la lune represents so much more.  
For Christmas in 2006, I got a little big book called 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die and quickly saw that in its pages there contained an epic Fodor's Travel Guide of film - or should I say a Michelin's Food Guide For The Cinephile's Soul? A Trip To The Moon was one of the first films I reviewed after getting that epic tome, and that post propelled me into the blogosphere like a ridiculous rocket cannon. From that write-up came my first comments from strangers and bloggers I'd never heard of, beginning with Thom Ryan of the Film Of the Year project, someone who was doing something very much like I was, and who stumbled upon my site while researching his own A Trip To The Moon post.
.

That this was first on the 1001 list was not the only reason I chose it for a Blog-A-Thon. Today I watch and review it again to mark another milestone - the re-launch of a club that focusses on my film study raison-d'être. A Trip To The Moon was the first film of a new paradigm for me as a critic. It represents a waning of just-for-kicks opinion doling and a waxing of honest critical study. It's fun, it's important, and hopefully it'll sucker you in too.

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

Performance: 7 Cinematography: 9 Script: 6 Plot: 8 Mood: 8

Overall Rating: 76% (One Hell Of A Trip Indeed!)
Aftertaste:

I've done the math. If I seriously intend to complete this mission of mine, reviewing one '1001 Must See Movies' film a week (on average) I'm left with at least 12 years of work, not including new editions of the Grand Tome and not including re-reviews like this one.

You know, it's not disheartening.

It's my Trip to the Moon.

Welcome to the Club everybody. Feel free to stick around.
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The Selenites are my favorite thing in the movie. I'm glad that Melies cast acrobats in those parts because all of their nervous leaping around makes the payoff (getting whacked with an umbrella and disapeering into a puff of smoke) so much more entertaining.


I think you should add a Facebook "Like" button on your page. I really admire what you're doing here. Film is the medium of a renaissance for today.
Also, "A Trip to the Moon" got a good treatment with your review. Its truly eerie to watch it. Educational, entertaining, rewarding. That is film for ya!

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