DIRECTOR: Georges Méliès
This is in many ways hard to review against most films. This is a 1902 feature, with a running time of 8 mins at 25 fps, or 14 mins at the original 16 fps. It needs to be judged in the context of the time, and the impact it has had upon cinema over the past century and impact isn’t the word.
This was made at a time when films were just becoming a narrative form, and the battle had yet to truly kick off between cinema and theatre. Cinema was as new as the internet and in many ways, Youtube is a fitting comparison for its day. This is a simple story of a group of french scientists, all donning suits might I add, whom embark upon the eponymous expedition to the moon, and once there they encounter it’s hostile inhabitants and strange and fantastical surroundings.
But the story isn’t the important thing here. The effects are. This is the first real effects movie, featuring cinema’s first dissolve, and the use of cuts and inventive editing to create stop motion effects. Georges Méliès was a pioneer of the cinema of which we have now all grown up with and without his innovations, all of which seem so simple by today’s standards, we would have little to enjoy.
He blended the theatrical styles of the theatre in his set design of scenery changes with the new growing art of cinematography and special effects and in most cases with great effect, and for that alone, this film is a masterpiece of it’s time, but it’s legacy is insurmountable.
Watch this and you are watching the conception of cinema that we know and love today.