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DVD Review: A Trip to the Moon

November 25, 2012

Film + Entertainment | by Francesco Cerniglia

I am completely in wonder and awe at a world which pre-dates the one we all know now. Can you even fathom seeing a film that wasn’t in 3D or, more drastically, without speech and sound? What I have reviewed here is personally, a miracle.

George Méliès’, A Trip to the Moon first appeared on the big screen 110 years ago in the guise of a silent black and white – much like every other picture during that time. However, a colour version, hand-painted frame by frame, thought lost for several years was discovered in Spain in 1993 and it is this, complete with an original soundtrack by French Musicians, AIR that opened the Cannes Film Festival in 2011 to widespread acclaim. Now finally, A Trip to the Moon has its DVD release and is accompanied by the documentary The Extraordinary Voyage by Serge Bromberg and Eric Lange.

The film is a mere 16 minutes long and begins with a room full of scholars and members of the Astronomer’s Club as they plan an expedition to the moon. What follows is a series of excitable dancing and the ultimate journey into space in a bullet-shaped rocket fired by a giant canon (obviously) where our heroes meet the moon’s inhabitants, escape their king and return to earth. Their return mission is not without its faults, however as the rocket lands in the ocean but thankfully they are rescued by a sailor and are congratulated with lots of applause, decorations and a triumphant parade. Hurrah!

It is safe to say that A Trip to the Moon is unlike anything I have ever seen in my life. Watching an obviously very old film in vibrant (actually visually stunning) colour with AIR’s soundtrack is very, very surreal. Think The Mighty Boosh. Think something you dream about after having eight blocks of cheese before bedtime. The story is a tad fragmented and doesn’t have the depth we are perhaps used to but really, I can’t even say that is a fault with this film because it is just so of its time and actually, massively ambitious considering the first moon landing came almost seventy years later. It is miraculous just how on earth this film has survived and genius at how it has been remastered, particularly with the great music.

I am torn between delight at how advanced our technology is in bringing A Trip to the Moon to the present day in a form so brilliant and new and feeling a little bit scared because really, it is very, very surreal and makes me feel somewhat intoxicated watching it. (I promise I’m sober) However, I would very much recommend checking it out because I doubt anything like this will ever be released again but be sure to remain open-minded.

Samuel Sims.

A Trip to the Moon is released on DVD tomorrow.