Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Le Voyage Dans La Lune (1902) Film Review

Fig 1 - Le Voyage Dans La Lune's Title card.
The film “Le Voyage Dans La Lune” is a black and white silent movie produced in 1902 by George Melies. The film is, as stated in its title, about a group of scientists/magicians who achieve flight to the moon, a preposterous theory just after the turn of the century. This can be seen through the use of wizards and magic and can be seen as alluding to how mystifying and magical science seems, as well as also allowing the use of the more questionable means of transportation to the moon, as is seen when they use a enormous cannon to accomplish the task.

Melies portrays his environments with a tremendous sense of scale and depth, using illusion and perspective to create, what would have seemed in 1902, an entirely believable world. It is scenes like the one below in which Melies creates a feeling of wonder and awe in his audience even now. Its mysticism invigorates the imaginations of its audience with Melies' own "Typical Imaginative Flamboyance"(David Parkinson, 2011) providing some of more inspiring and eccentric scenes in this film, such as the mushroom cave scene or the alien camp scene where a certain type of eccentricity gives life to these odd creations.

"Each image just another piece of magic"(Will, 2011) is a quotation that relates partially to the the enormous landscapes and vivid locations and partially to the early special effects employed by Melies to stun, captivate and amaze his audiences. The effects used for conjuring chairs out of tubes and making the alien life forms turn to smoke when hit were cutting edge for their time, using stop and start techniques that would have had audiences astounded and mystified as they tried to workout just how it had been done.

Fig 2 - The moon scene where the
adventurous scientists sleep for the night.

The industrial scene captures the essence of what would have been reality and adds flair of innovation to it, the use of perspective and the illusion of space drags the viewer deeper into Melies' world and gives the scene a sense of realism and give it a believable quality. It is this sense of realism that really brings the charm of this silent film to life, the fact that this could have been reality, what may seem like outlandish inventions and completely insane notions to us now gave audiences an exciting but all too possible future.
Fig 3 - The industrial landscape scene showing
the construction of the large cannon.

"The primitive silent landmark has more charm and originality than many modern CGI-cluttered epics."(Phil Hall, 2004) This quotation shows how this "silent landmark" has the originality that far surpasses modern films, Melies' film captures something from audiences that its modern counterparts have lost sight of.  It is in the notion of realism and the coming future that Melies captures his audiences hopes and fears, what is to come with the new century, what strange and otherworldly concoctions and inventions will revolutionize humanity and what great feats of innovation and engineering will reshape the common mans way of life.

List of Illustrations:

Figure 1: Title card from Le Voyage Dans La Lune (1902)
              Directed by George Melies At: ( Accessed 25/09/13)

Figure 2: Moon sleep scene from Le Voyage Dans La Lune (1902)
              Directed by George Melies. At: ( accessed 25/09/13)

Figure 3: Industrial landscape scene from Le Voyage Dans La Lune (1902)
              Directed by George Melies At: ( Accessed 25/09/13)


Hall, Phil (2004) (Online Review)

Parkinson, David (2011) (Online Review)

Will (2011) (Online Review)


  1. Hi Kyle!

    Well done on getting your first film review out there! :)

    This is generally a very well written and insightful piece, and you are making some very relevant observations. I would just say, that you need to make more use of quotations, and make sure that you both introduce and unpick them thoroughly... have a look here, for some advice on doing this successfully -

    Also, make sure that you reference everything in the correct manner, and include a bibliography and illustrations list at the end - see here

    All in all, though, a very promising start! :)

    1. Whoops! Have just seen your bibliography!! :) Still, check out how you reference within the text...

    2. Thank you, I'll make the changes right now :) a quick question i've seen on the UCA guide to refernecing that when using a direct quotation you include a name and year, but do not understand the number after the year? Is it some sort of line number or something else entirely?

    3. Hi Kyle, the number after the year relates to the page number where the quote is from originally in the book :)