67 years before the moon landing, French filmmaker Georges Méliès imagined humans blasting to the moon using a giant cannon and encountering lunar natives in this whimsical short film, Le Voyage dans la Lune, featuring advanced special effects for its time. Watch it with your kids and let us know what they think!
How to Watch
- Free on YouTube (embedded above)
- Georges Méliès cited as inspiration Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon (1865) and Around the Moon (1870). H.G. Wells' The First Men in the Moon (1901) may have been another inspiration.
- Georges Méliès and this film in particular featured heavily in Martin Scorsese's critically-acclaimed 2011 film Hugo (based on the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick).
- Rather than trying to look as realistic as possible, this film is intentionally stylized to feel more like a theatrical stage production. (This is also why the film uses a fixed camera angle throughout each scene.)
- Some original prints of A Trip to the Moon were hand-colored by an assembly line studio of over 200 painters, painting directly onto film. The colored copies were believed lost until one was rediscovered in 1993 and restored in 2011.
- Do you think science fiction plays an essential role in inspiring scientific advancement? For instance, do you think imaginative works like this film helped bring about the 1969 moon landing?
- Do you think these stylized special effects will ever make a comeback in Hollywood (as opposed to hyper-realistic effects)?
- When do you think humans will return to the moon?
- What is your favorite science fiction story about discovering the wonders of space travel?