A Trip to the Moon (1902)

Hello everyone! I watched the first movie on my Legendary Cinematic Pictures Through the Ages List tonight and I wanted to share my thoughts on it.

Here is the link to the full movie (12ish minutes).
I also recommend watching this video to learn more about the movie in general and it’s significance in the film industry.

So, first I’m going to talk about how this movie was made. As the video above references, this is acknowledged as one of the most influential movies of all time. Georges Méliès, the creator of this film, was originally a famous magician who looked toward film as a way to expand the boundaries of magic. A Trip to the Moon definitely showcases his love for magic. I can definitely see how this film pushed forward the development of special effects.

One of the first things I noticed (it was quite hard not to) was how jumpy and blurry the picture was. The reason for the jumpiness is because the filmmakers shot this movie at about 14 fps (frames per second) which is slow enough that the eye does not see it as a continuous movement. Today, it is common for major motion pictures to be shot at around 24 fps. And as for the blurry picture, a trip to the moon was shot over a hundred years ago on film. It makes sense as to why the picture would be blurry.

Although there aren’t a lot of scene changes in this short film, the ones that do occur involve a transition that is traditionally called “dissolving” or the “dissolve” transition. This is still a very common transition and I think that it is very cool that this transition has withstood time.

Now, back to the magic aspect of this movie. Méliès did a great job of taking advantage of the use of film to shoot this project. For example, by cutting and rejoining different pieces of film and his previous knowledge of magic tricks, Méliès was able to make objects disappear and reappear. In fact, because of the creativity and use of magic, this movie is regarded as one of the first science fiction films ever! Just another great example of how movie makers were able to use special effects even without the great programs we have today.

Overall, I think that this was a very legendary movie for the time that entertained thousands of people and greatly influenced the next few generations of filmmakers. While it was certainly an impressive movie for the time, today, a viewer might be a little bit bored with this silent film (I found myself a little bit bored and confused at times). That just shows how far we have come with this technology and how much we owe to George Méliès and his film.

Thanks for reading everyone, I hope you check out this film if you have time!