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A trip to the Moon / Le Voyage dans la lune (1902)

A masterpiece of film back in its day due to the fact that journeying to the moon was a revolutionary, mad man concept. It comes across quite comical and I think the costumes used in the astronomy tower refer to their statuses as 'magicians', the stars and cosmic swirls on their cloaks indicate they are like a prehistoric NASA. The astronomy tower was quite crowded and the conversation they had between themselves was quite manic and overdramatic. The plan was drawn simply on the blackboard and they began a frantic rush to begin the preparations.

Figure 1 The space the bullet ship is being created is small and abstract, the director has deployed the use of layers with mechanics in the foreground and background. I was drawn to the half finished ship and the team of wielders, it's like the film goes through a list of storyboards itself before they even board the final finished ship. When the mad scientists board the ship they are introduced by cabaret girls, to what reason is uncertain it was like I was observing a magic trick.

Finally the shot where the massive gun is fired was illustrated nicely, in the background we had an impressionistic feel with the cityscape and sky, although the focus was on the moon.

Figure 2 The most famous image of the moon slowly advanced towards us the closer the ship got to its destination, I get the feeling the face was the 'man on the moon'. And when they disembarked onto the surface of the moon we were presented with multiple different points of interest; - Moon craters - Passing comets - Stars - The jagged surface of the rock formations - The Earth And finally the scientists reaction to the experience. I believe there was a reference to gods in the film during the dream sequence, the background faded in to show faces on stars then again with depictions of godlike beings. I do not understand the part of the film where they run to shelters though, perhaps the falling debris was from that comet? Or maybe stardust. I dunno it's mostly speculation. On entering a nearby cave however it began to get even more surreal. We were presented to an underground cavern that was littered with jagged rocks and gigantic mushrooms. The lighting gleaming down from the opening in the background highlights the cavern so it creates the space for the scene. Our scientists come into contact with aliens who can move

themselves around abnormally by contorting their bodies; the fighting was quite comical with puffs of smoke deployed when physical contact ensues. They are taken under arrest by the aliens to their leader, the set was quite small but it hinted like an Aztec design with the architecture of the building? With glyphs on the walls. But once again the comical aspect takes over and the leader was short work for one of the scientists as he slams him against the floor, they break free from their bonds. Racing back to the ship the set is based on a platform with layers used in the background, the characters only interact with the platform. All the while the planet earth is missing from the sky, probably on the opposite side of the moon perhaps. Finally they pile into the ship together and plummet back to earth once the fall from the cliff, looking back at this seems quite profound indeed but at the time they hadn't a clue about space travel. But they conveyed it in a comical way.

Figure 3 In all I think it was an adventure taken from the mind of a child and wildest wonders of a scientist back then, the artwork itself compliments the film tremendously. Without it the film would have been bland indeed, effective use of layers and lighting to create an illusion of space.
List of Illustrations Figure 1 Le Voyage Dans la Lune, 1902 at http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2b/Voyage_dans_la_lune_title _card.png accessed on 24 September 2013

Figure 2 A Trip to the moon still at http://2.bp.blogspot.com/iFrTJ_7bs98/UKd7YQf7HDI/AAAAAAAAAQU/fez8vB8nUSE/s1600/Voyage_dans_Lu ne.jpg accessed on 24 September 2013 Figure 3 Le Voyage Dans la Lune poster (1902) at http://astronaut.com/wpcontent/uploads/2013/01/042_le_voyage_dans_la_lune_theredlist.jpg accessed on 24 September 2013