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Film: A Trip to the Moon

A Trip To The Moon (French: Le Voyage dans la lune) is a 1902 black-and-white French science fiction film based around (surprise!) six Frenchmen going to the moon. It is based loosely on two popular novels of the time: From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne and The First Men in the Moon by H. G. Wells.

The film was written and directed by Georges Méliès, assisted by his brother Gaston. The film runs 14 minutes if projected at 16 frames per second, which was the standard frame rate at the time the film was produced. It was extremely popular at the time of its release and is the best-known of the hundreds of fantasy films made by Méliès.

Notable for being one of the Ur Examples of science fiction film and associated tropes, and for its innovative animation and special effects, including the well-known image of the spaceship landing in the moon's eye.

Plays a key role in the Brian Selznick children's novel The Invention Of Hugo Cabret and its Martin Scorsese-directed film adaptation Hugo. The movie also served as the main inspiration for the music video of "Tonight, Tonight" by The Smashing Pumpkins.

Can be seen in its entirety in black and white or color on Youtube. RiffTrax did their usual MST of the short film, bragging it was the oldest film they'd ever riffed.


A Trip to the Moon contains examples of:

  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Artistic License on the part of Melies, since even in 1902, astronomers knew from telescopic observation that the Moon had little to no atmosphere.
  • Crazy-Prepared: It was certainly handy that all the men thought to bring umbrellas with them to the Moon.
  • Deface of the Moon: Crashed a spaceship right in its eye!
  • Eye Scream: The iconic scene of the ship landing in the moon's eye.
  • Fanservice: All the girls in hot pants standing by at the launch.
  • Human Aliens: Averted here (see the Humanoid Aliens entry below), but played straight in The Remake An Excursion to the Moon, made by Segundo Chomòn without Méliès's blessing or participation. In that unauthorized remake, the aliens seem evenly divided into Fu Manchu lookalikes and attractive French ballerinas. No comment.
  • Humanoid Aliens: The Selenites look and move basically like (very acrobatic) human beings, but their heads are somewhere between birdlike and insectoid, and they appear to have exoskeletons as well.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters : Not only do they slam a rocket into the moon's eye, they kill a bunch of aliens with umbrellas and bring one home on a leash!
    • Played for Laughs in the final scene, where everyone dances around a ridiculous commemorative statue of the conquering astronomy professor, with "SCIENCE" inscribed on the base.
  • Interplanetary Voyage: It's called A Trip to the Moon, you know.
  • The Man in the Moon: Hi there!
  • No Body Left Behind: The Selenites disappear into a puff of smoke when struck.
  • Pop-Star Composer: Sort of; Air made the soundtrack for restored color version, nearly 110 years later
  • Robe and Wizard Hat: How the astronomers are dressed.
  • Stop Trick: Trope Maker
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The Selenites will vaporize if you hit them hard with an umbrella. Which makes the astronomers' agressive behaviour towards them seem all the worse.
  • Weird Moon: Aliens and giant mushrooms, hm?
  • Zeerust: Considering it's over a century old...


Rudolph the Red-Nosed ReindeerRiff Trax Shorts    
Early FilmsSilent MovieThe Great Train Robbery
The Triplets of BellevilleFrench FilmsThe Twelve Tasks of Asterix
Rip Van WinkleEarly FilmsThe Great Train Robbery
The Triads and the TongsImageSource/Live-Action FilmsScience Marches On
Georges MélièsUsefulNotes/FranceHugo

alternative title(s): A Trip To The Moon
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