Drawing inspiration from Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon and HG Well’s The First Men on the Moon, cinema’s first sci-fi A Trip to the Moon follows six astronomers as they set foot on the lunar surface and meet with fierce opposition from the Moon’s inhabitants.
Originally released in 1902, this 16-minute film from film pioneer George Méliès was made just six years after the invention of cinema, and was such a success that it became the first victim of film piracy and spawned a host of imitators. 110 years later, it is one of film history’s most significant works (so much so that Martin Scorsese paid homage to it and Méliès in his 2011 film Hugo).
The colour version of A Trip to the Moon, hand-painted frame by frame, was lost for almost a century until a print was discovered in 1993. Following meticulous restoration the results are luminous, providing the viewer with a psychedelic journey into the fantastique – complete with very colourful characters (they wouldn’t look out of place at a Doctor Who convention), trippy sets and vintage visual illusions.
This release includes a new soundtrack by the French band Air (check out the two-minute clip below), which only adds to the film’s quirky out-of-this-world charm. To accompany the film, the informative documentary, The Extraordinary Voyage, explores the restoration process and looks at cinema’s early days and the dawn of colour, making this release a must-have addition to your film library.