Tuesday, 1 September 2015

La Voyage dans la Lune (1902)

I think it’s hard to review La voyage dans la lune in the same way I do other films because of its age and uniqueness.  Certainly the film is an incredible achievement for 1902, with some impressive sets and some simple yet ingenious effects created by Georges Méliès.  Most striking is the image of the moon and the elegant way the camera slowly zooms in to reveal the face, just before the space rocket crashes in to one eye providing an iconic image of early cinema.

There are a few amusing bits (I found), not least the fact that all the scientists look like Dumbledore at the beginning, and there is a graphic drawn on a blackboard where I could only think “You can see here the Death Star orbiting the forest moon of Endor...”!  And I do love the fact that having landed on the moon, all the scientists bed down for the night, sleeping under their coats!

The version I found on YouTube (see below, if I remember), had only very sporadic music, though I’ve no idea if it is the original score.  I would guess not; though quoting from wikipedia “Méliès never required a specific musical score to be used with any film, allowing exhibitors freedom to choose whatever accompaniment they felt most suitable.”  I was surprised that there were no intertitles though as there are to describe scenes of other early films I’ve seen such as Sherlock Jr (1924), Battleship Potemkin (1925), or Metropolis (1927). This is no problem though as the story is told perfectly well.

Difficult to describe given its age, La voyage dans la lune is well worth seeing, not least because it is perhaps the first ever science fiction film but one of the first examples of a narrative film.  But, you know, that's just, like, my opinion man.