Long ago I set my standards on what is the cutoff date for how modern something I review in this slot is. Originally it was anything before the 80s, and with the move into the 2020s that felt like a decent time to move it to anything before the 90s. But that was just how modern something could be, there was no such restriction on how old something could be. So, let’s go watch something over 100 years old.
It can’t be said enough how important Le Voyage Dans La Lune is to the history of Film and science fiction. Inspired by many works such as Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon, it is widely viewed as the first example of the science fiction genera in film. Indeed, many of you will know one of its most famous images by heart without ever seeing it, namely of the large bullet now lodged in the eye of the man on the moon.
Thus, watching this film is an experience, even if it is only around 15 minutes. You see sets as if out of some surrealist painting (I’m reminded of The Cabinet of Dr Caligari only less, jagged) The limits of what even back then people could perceive of technology. But also, a somewhat dark mentality when you view the leads actions with modern eyes.
In terms of technology, we see how they got in a big bullet and fired out of a cannon to the moon (resulting in the classic shot). A similar event happens in “Things To Come” at the end which I reviewed earlier, while made a few decades later both had not conceived the idea of rockets and instead used guns and cannons as the means to space.
The element that shows a difference in modern eyes however comes in the form of the People of the moon. Our space explorers just mow them down without them having initially threatened them, even killing their king before running back to Earth where they are celebrated as heroes. Perhaps the more colonialist attitude of the past flowing into the works. Nowadays I would expect the Killing of people and their king without previous provocation wouldn’t be so joyously celebrated.
The entire thing is silent with not even a dialog box shown so the story is told all visually, on the plus this means you don’t have any language barrier. The whole thing is a visual treat even before they get to the moon and you can see why it ended up so memorable and influential.