Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Film Review: La Voyage dans Lune, Georges Méliès (1902)

La Voyage dans La Lune (1902)

Fig. 1 - Film Poster

Georges Méliès's La Voyage dans La Lune can be approached from many angles, whether an art student, film and media student, normal person or a computer animated arts student, everyone will their own opinion. Such a short piece wouldn't get much favour with the average crowd without knowing the story that is the history and background of this film. The film world of the 21st century cannot receive credit for there masterpieces without this film. ''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.'' (Sean Axmaker, 2012)

Fig 2. Film still - ready for take off
A film originally inspired from Jules Verne's De la terre à la lune (1865) and by H. G. Wells's The First Men in the Moon (1901), I hadn't really given it much thought as to what to expect from it. I had seen the famous bullet in the moon's eye image about but not really looked into its origin. When the film started my first impression was to roll my eyes, sigh and just watch it, but as soon as I saw the wizard's my attention spiked and I instantly thought of Dumbledore from J.K Rowlings Harry Potter series.

It made me laugh for a good few moments and I perked up and watched. The story was a little hard to grasp to start with but I gathered the general gist was that the Elder scientist proposed to his colleges an idea that struck and confounded them, caused an uproar and then suddenly they were all getting in this bullet shell to be blasted off through a giant cannon to the moon. Theoretically impossible of course but that is the world of science fiction and fantasy.

Fig. 3 Aliens Attacking
As it's described as being ''remarkable for its imaginative, and continually diverting, narrative development. The serious, didactic purpose of the literary antecedents is ignored to provide an engaging entertainment.'' R. F. Cousins (2-14)I shocked myself when I actually enjoyed it, I knew what was happening and was feeling slightly nostalgic as the style of art used in the movie was simplistic and poorly presented, and that then was magic.
Fig. 4 Greedo Concept Art
Now its just a reference to the history and development of the Film, SFX and VFX industry today. The aliens really and I mean REALLY reminded me of Greedo from George Lucas' Star Wars, as the masks from what I can see resemble them so closely for a moment it was like we just stepped into the Star Wars galaxy.

Although we did not watch it with the original score, the music fit perfectly with what was happening, silent films have no voice overs so its like watching it with noise cancelling headphones on. The actors mouths would be moving but nothing. Like being deaf to everything – a strange thing to be encountering if you think about how today everything is narrated, and then you see in the 20th century they hadn't quite figured out how to add voice. How did they even cope with that? ''Their grandiose score will make you glad that this silent film [Melies' 1902 film A Trip to the Moon] isn't silent anymore.'' Entertainment Weekly (2012). 

When the screen faded and the film finished I kinda had this anticipation that there would be more to the story but obviously there wasn't enough time/budget/art/story for it to continue. But, at least it wasn't as long as the second movie we watched. 

Illustration List
Méliès, G (1902). Fig 1. Film Poster. http://fr.praesens.com/praesensdeutsch/assets/Image/Kino/voyage/High/poster.jpg. (Accessed on: 23/09/2014)
Méliès, G (1902). Fig 2. Film Still. http://www.shadowlocked.com/images/le%20voyage.jpg (Accessed on: 23/09/2014)
Méliès, G (1902). Fig 3. Film Still. http://mindreels.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/voyage-dans-la-lune-1902-03-g.jpg (Accessed on: 23/09/2014)
Bernardi, S (2013). Fig 4. Concept Art http://cargocollective.com/stefanobernardi/Greedo (Accessed on: 23/09/2014)

R. F. Cousins, (2014) Film Referance http://www.filmreference.com/Films-Vi-Wi/Le-Voyage-dans-la-Lune.html. (Accessed on: 23/09/2014)
Axmaker, S, (2012) Via rottontomatoes.com 
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/le_voyage_dans_la_lune/. (Accessed on: 23/09/2014)

Entertainment Weekly, (2012). Metacritic.com. http://www.metacritic.com/music/le-voyage-dans-la-lune-a-trip-to-the-moon/air. (Accessed on: 23/09/2014)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Julia - well done on getting your first review done and dusted!
    just a couple of pointers for the next one - firstly, do you think you could change your font to something a bit less 'handwritten' - it is really hard to read at the moment (for my old eyes!), Stick to Arial or Helvetica, or something a bit more straightforward.

    You have made some really interesting observations here - what I would like to see in the next review, is you having a go at writing in the 3rd person, rather than putting your ideas forward as personal opinion. It's not an easy style to adjust to, but it will make your writing sound much more academic and less chatty. So, for example, this sentence - ' The aliens really and I mean REALLY reminded me of Greedo from George Lucas' Star Wars, as the masks from what I can see resemble them so closely for a moment it was like we just stepped into the Star Wars galaxy,' could be written as 'The aliens could be said to have influenced George Lucas' Star Wars films, as the masks put the viewer in mind of Greedo (Fig 4) and resemble them so closely, that for a moment it was like the audience just stepped into the Star Wars galaxy.' Do you see how that second version is less chatty-sounding?

    Just a quick point about your quotes - make sure that the quote is introduced and then 'unpicked', rather than just having it sitting there. You have almost done it with one of your quotes above, but you need to be able to show that the quote supports your discussion. Also, the reference after the quote is all within brackets, so (Cousins, 2014).

    Looking forward to reading your next review - keep it up! :)