Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Trip to the Moon (1902)

People go to the moon and kill everything they find.

Watching films from the silent era can be hard enough, but the earliest stabs at film-making can be really exhausting. In the same way the directors struggled to create with new technology, today's audiences struggle to appreciate what was, at the time, a herculean accomplishment. A Trip to the Moon represents that kind of achievement and viewing it as a something other than a magnificent achievement is a mistake.

A group of scientists decide to make a trip to the moon. Like any reasonable men of science, they get there by loading themselves into a giant bullet and shooting themselves at the moon. When they arrive they find that the natives are restless and highly combustible. The film is directed by pioneer of the early screen George Melies, but he, unfortunately, made very little money off the movie. In a pretty shady movie, Thomas Edison stole a copy of the film and distributed it in the states before Melies could capitalize on his accomplishment. The film is commonly listed amongst the most important ever made and as the first science fiction movie. 

Not every movie that's important is enjoyable, but A Trip to the Moon is a surprisingly pleasing fifteen minutes. The visuals remain striking and, while the movie won't fool you into thinking it was made in the modern era, it does feature some really impressive animation. I can't say enough about how impressive the blending of animation and live action is. A Trip to the Moon is years ahead of it's time in almost every respect. There's not much risk in taking a look at the film. It's fifteen minutes long, totally free to watch online and one of the most important movies ever made. Do yourself a favor and make 15 minutes to watch the movie.


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