A Trip to Mars

∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗ 

(5/10) In a nutshell: A scientist floats to Mars and is captured by Martians in this early American short film. Not a masterpiece, but a well made and intriguing little film.

A Trip to Mars. USA, 1910. Silent short. Directed by Ashley Miller. Loosely based on H.G. Wells’ novel The First Men in the Moon. Produced by the Edison Company. IMDb Score: 6.2 Tomatometer: N/A. Metascore: N/A. 

A famous shot from the film, of the Martian creating a snowball around the scientist.

A famous shot from the film, of the Martian creating a snowball around the scientist.

Along with the Edison’s 10 minute rendition of Frankenstein (review), A Trip to Mars was one of USA’s first science fiction films, and perhaps the first all-out sci-fi. It was also one of the very first films about a trip to Mars – in any country. Both these films were released in 1910, and both were produced by Thomas Edison’s powerful conglomerate. Before this film there had apparently been made a version of Jules Verne’s book 20,000 Leagues Beneath the Seas in 1905, but that appears to have been lost. Continue reading

Advertisements

A Trip to the Moon

∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗ 

(10/10) In a nutshell: This 1902 film about a trip to the moon and an encounter with aliens is in many senses the first of its kind, notable for its large budget, entertaining and fantastical story, state of the art special effects and lavish, moving sets. A true benchmark not only for sci-fi films, but for the medium of film as a whole. 

A Trip to the Moon (1902) Director: Georges Méliès. Starring: Georges Méliès, Bleuette Bernon. Producer: Georges Méliès. France. Tomatometer: 100%. IMDb score: 8.2. 

The legendary image of the rocket hitting the face in the moon (actually Georges Méliès' face).

The legendary image of the rocket hitting the face in the moon (actually Georges Méliès’ face).

In many ways French stage magician-turned-film maker George Méliès’ 1902 film A Trip to the Moon (Le Voyage dans la Lune) marks the beginning of sci-fi as a film genre. It was the first film of a considerable length (14 minutes) dealing with sci-fi elements – it was in fact one of the longest fictional films to have been released at the time of its making in 1902. It was also a beautiful blend of all the special effects wizardry Méliès had developed during his 6 years of film making. It sports one of the most legendary images of science fiction film making to date – that of a moon rocket hitting the (human) face of the moon square in the eye. Continue reading