The Bucket Cine-List: The First Sci-Fi Film Takes ‘A Trip to the Moon’

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
“A Trip to the Moon” Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Welcome to our newest feature here at 4YE: The Bucket Cine-list. In this series of articles, we will look at the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, state the significance, and give our own personal take on the film.

We hope you enjoy the ride [to the moon].

The plot to this 12 minute short film is pretty simple, as it says on the IMBD page “A group of astronomers go on an expedition to the moon.” And that is pretty much it.

Reasons for its significance:
This 1902 silent French film directed by Geo [George] Méliès is the first science fiction film seen on screen. A Trip to the Moon was “a light-hearted satire criticizing the conservative scientific community of its time” and it was inspired by Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon (1865) and H. G. Wells’ First Men in the Moon (1901). 

Andrew J. Rausch’s Turning Points in Film History cite’s A Trip to the Moon as it “changed the way movies were produced.”  As Filmsite says in its review of the film:

“[Méliès] developed the art of special effects in earlier films, including double exposure, actors performing with themselves over split screens, and use of the dissolve and fade. He also pioneered the art of film editing. The sets or scenery backdrops in the film are simple, painted flats. It has all the elements that characterize the science-fiction genre: adventurous scientists, a futuristic space voyage, special effects such as superimpositions, and strange aliens in a far-off place.”

The world renowned, first of its kind film went on to be featured in many present day mediums. From a 12 part documentary/mini series on HBO narrated by Tom Hanks to the inspiration behind Katy Perry’s ‘Wide Awake’ performance production at the 2012 Billboard Music Awards the influence of Méliès’ A Trip to the Moon is everywhere and you probably didn’t even realize it.

On top of being apart of the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, it is also on the list of 100 Best Films of the 20th Century at number 84 as voted by The Village Voice.

Personal Opinion
This is the first movie I decided to look at for this feature because a) it was on YouTube, b) it was only 12 minutes long, and c) it is the oldest movie on the list coming out in 1902. It is absolutely incredible to see how far the film industry has come in a century.

When the first scene opens up, I can honestly say that the set looked like Dumbledore’s office, and everyone was dressed like wizards. It was so surreal to see these astronomers in this attire we so closely associate with the wizarding world.

It was absolutely amazing to see how space was conquered in the 1900’s and seeing all these really – well let’s be honest here – horrible special effects that were actually revolutionary at the time. It was truly something special to see that makes you appreciate where it started and how far special effects and films have come.

I think that this short sci-fi film is one that everyone should put aside some time to watch…even if it is for the aliens and that iconic shot of the moon with the rocket in its eye.

Credit: Wikimedia


You can watch the full movie on YouTube, so spare 12 minutes and watch this tiny piece of film history:

Melissa LoParco
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Melissa LoParco

Melissa LoParco is a Senior Editor at 4 Your Excitement. She has her MSc in Publishing from Edinburgh Napier University and an Honours BA in Journalism and English Literature from the University of Toronto. Melissa has always been passionate about three things: books, pop-culture, and hockey and by working at 4YE she is able two channel two of the three into her writing. Follow her on Twitter to see a wide range of topics coming together on one feed. Favourite topics include Sherlock, Doctor Who, Orphan Black, Marvel, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and YA novels to name a few.
Melissa LoParco
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