The film, “Voyage Dans La Lune” by Georges Méliès is a confusing and over-the-top movie about some men who make a journey to the moon. But when you stop trying to understand and go with the film’s story, you see man’s attempt to understand what he does not yet know. The setting is during the infancy of industrialization which can be from the 1760’s to mid 1800’s. These gentlemen all seem to be commotion over the moon, as the large telescope is pointing right at it in the background. One man seems to suggest that they go there, much to the malcontent of the rest of the group. After quite a rambling over this idea, these wealthy men decide to make it happen.
Their wealth is well represented with being overdressed for a space launch and overseeing the construction of their capsule to the moon. To much publicity, the crew of rich galactic explorers are launched from a giant cannon in their capsule and headed for the moon. The background of space from this time and perspective is quite comical given what we know now about the conditions of the next frontier. These men are flat characters but nonetheless make the plot more interesting with their antics as the story progresses. I imagine that the writers of this story had imagined the moon had caves on its surface as they sleep in a ‘moon cave’ for the night. They encounter a lunar being and completely baffled by it, one of the men kill it with an umbrella.
As humans, we fear what we do not understand, which is why the killings of aliens done by humans seems archetypal. We don’t understand the moon creatures intentions until somebody kills one, which becomes clear that it’s justice from the king. Our brave space pioneers possibly face a tribunal from the king if not for the actions of one the men to free themselves. They escape into their in order to escape the ordeal of being chased by the moon creatures. They somehow manage to get back to earth by crash landing in the ocean. Once again, to much publicity, they are awarded medals and a statue to showcase their extraordinary feat. No guts, no glory is one of the themes I caught in this film.
I like the lively backgrounds they incorporated in scenes such as when the men slept on the moon and when they began to plan their journey there. The obvious staging makes me thankful that air travel is cheaper now so filmmakers can go to their desired settings. I also enjoyed the descent because even though we now know Earth’s atmosphere is made up multiple levels and they would have burned to a crisp before landing, it’s good to see that writers back then were willing to stretch their imagination when it came to scenarios never attempted by humankind.