Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Trip to the Moon (Méliès. 1902)

“It has set the course for cinema’s love affair with the impossible.”


Remember those daydreams you had when you were a child? Well, so does the 1077 Films to See Before You Die. One of the things that make filmmaking the greatest art form in the world is that it has the ability to make your dreams visible. Though novels and stories had been able to realize daydreams for years, nothing had ever been given an astounding visual. This is exactly what Georges Méliès accomplishes in his 1902 short film, A Trip to the Moon.

Yes, A Trip to the Moon was released in the humbling year of 1902, and the visuals are excruciatingly dated. But that is not what makes the film memorable. The film follows the story of some eccentric astronomers that ride a bullet-like spaceship all the way to the moon. In under fifteen minutes the astronomers land on the moon’s surface, battle aliens and journey, although accidentally, to the bottom of the ocean.

Of course the entire concept makes everyone’s scientific mind explode, but A Trip to the Moon is not for those minds. The film directly relates to the exploratory minds of that early century. And that relation has not been lost in modern times. After watching the film, take a look back to the dreams you used to have as a child. Only then will you appreciate the kookiness of Méliès’ vision. This is the earliest example of dreams coming to life.

A Trip to the Moon is a short film with a very fluffy premise, but this does not mean its significance should be taken lightly. The oldest film on the 1077 Films to See Before You Die is also one of the most playful, inspirational and influential triumphs in the history of film. I very much encourage you to take 10 minutes out of your day to watch this smile-inducing work of art.

A Trip to the Moon: A

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