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Film Review

Space & Environment

Le Voyage dans la Lune

Director: Georges Mlis

Figure 1

Figure 2

Le Voyage dans la Lune or A Trip to the Moon (1902) is a black and white science fiction film that was produced and developed by Frenchman, Georges Mlis. His initial ideas for this short film originated from influences of two novels that were popular at the time; From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne and H.G Wells The First men on the Moon. The film was hugely popular at the time of its release due to its original science fiction genre (with comedic elements), and its inventive concepts, effects, and animations.

Figure 3 The film was shot at a rate of 16 frames per second and only last 14 minutes. Due to the productions short nature, Mlis had taken full advantage of set design and innovative camera tricks to produce imaginative special effects and animation, which would, in turn, create an extreme attraction and create large popularity. His techniques helped apply an advanced understanding of narrative in which he wanted to create an experience which was far different from other forms of storytelling. This really shone through in his creative style of editing using artistic effects and helped him to portray to his future revolutionary film techniques (Figure 3).

Special Effects include dusty explosions, superimposition, miniatures and animation. Director Georges Mlis was pushing boundaries and demonstrating the potential for narrative storytelling, searching for product that couldnt be emulated by the stage.
(Massie, M)

Figure 4 Aspects such as the set design emphasised the depth of these fantastical worlds Mlis created, focusing on scale that drew on the illusion of perspective as well as engineering an enthused approach of his visualised world. The conceptual art from pre-production identifies his visions and expresses the originality of his perceptions which can be seen identical to the fleshed out crafted sets within the film. The thought process behind the films concept really brought a sense of realism to his sets (Figure 4). A work of pure, playful imagination, a picture-book fantasy brought to life with intricate, hand-painted sets and a whimsical portrait of science as wizardry by way of the industrial revolution (Axmaker, S 2012) An accountable image from A Trip to the Moon, (Figure 2), is an unforgettable scene within the film that expresses the individuality of Mlis ideas but also represents the lack of knowledge and understanding of life outside of the atmosphere. However, the way the scenes have been shot allow the viewers to perceive the narrative in an entertaining way that gives of a comedic and fun feel that coherently keeps an audience believing in the story and scenes from the film. Mlis had the know-how as a magician to make the impossible seem possible, and the energy and sense of fun to make it come alive in an entertaining and unforgettable way (Skutle, B) With only the duration of 14 minutes, Georges Mlis created a classic film without any use of technology; only using conventional sets, traditional actors, and a still camera. Considering this, A Trip to the Moon is now an iconic short that influences a lot of modern works and has had a wider impact on the industry than other films that are created today.

Review Bibliography

References Axmaker, Sean (2012) available at:; [accessed online on 29 September 2012]. Massie, Mike available at: [accessed online on 29 September 2012]. Skutle, Brian available at: [accessed online on 29 September 2012]

Images Figure 1: Figure 2: Figure 3: Figure 4:

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