AKA: Le Voyage dans la lune, A Trip to the Moon, A Trip to Mars
Science Fiction (Sci-Fi): a fiction based on imagined future scientific or technological advances and major social or environmental changes, frequently portraying space or time travel and life on other planets.
Parody: an imitation of the style of a particular artist or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect; to mimic humorously.
Georges Méliès had a background in show business and he was a skilled magician/illusionist. So he was always trying to go to fantastical heights in his films. He was really shooting for the moon in this one…. literally. This short (actually pretty long for it’s time) running a little under 15 minutes, is a milestone in Sci-Fi and in the history of film. The film depicts a group of astronomers building a spacecraft to go to the moon. They come up with a mechanism, basically a giant gun; they use to shoot their bullet shaped space ship to the moon. In a scene, that is infamous in the history of Sci-Fi cinema, their makeshift spacecraft cannon blasts the cadets into the eye of the moon with a spurt. There’s also an incredible under water scene of the space ship crashing back into the earth, splashing into the ocean. Very beautiful and very inspiring for me.
Méliès started it all with his elaborate set designs, thought up and painted by Méliès himself, combined with constructed props gives a great depth to the atmosphere. His films were almost made to parody, that’s why they have that outlandish, campy feel and that’s what it took to push the limits of Méliès’ talents. His originality and his peculiar taste in theater planted the seed in psychological thrillers, surrealism, sci-fi, camp, horror, and the comedy genres. Georges Méliès was the greatest director/writer/producer/star/production designer of the turning of the century.
December 8, 1861 – January 21, 1938
Though ‘Voyage to the moon’ is widely accepted as the first science fiction movie, this is not so. Méliès made several early films with elements in sci-fi. Check out ‘The Astronomer’s Dream’ and ‘The Man on the Moon’ both made in 1898, four years before ‘Voyage to the Moon’