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A Trip to the Moon(1902)
A group of men travel to the moon by being shot in a capsule from a giant cannon. They are captured by moon-men, escape, and return to the earth.
For more about A Trip to the Moon and the A Trip to the Moon Blu-ray release, see A Trip to the Moon Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on April 20, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 5.0 out of 5.
Starring: Georges Méliès, Victor André, Bleuette Bernon, Jeanne d'Alcy
Director: Georges Méliès
» See full cast & crew
A Trip to the Moon Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, April 20, 2012
Recently restored and screened at the Cannes Film Festival, Georges Melies' "Le voyage dans la lune" a.k.a "A Trip to the Moon" (1902) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Flicker Alley. The supplemental features on the disc include an interview with the French band Air; Georges Melies' films "The Astronomer's Dream" (1898) and "The Eclipse or The Courtship of the Sun and the Moon" (1907); Serge Bromberg and Eric Lange's documentary film "The Extraordinary Voyage" (2011); multiple music scores; and more. The Blu-ray release also arrives with a 24-page illustrated booklet featuring an excerpt from Gilles Duval and Severine Wemaere's "A Trip to the Moon Back in Color" and notes on the restoration of the film. Region-A "locked".
It may sound cliché at this point but I believe that it is well worth repeating it: There has never been a better time to collect films. And I am convinced that once you see Flicker Alley's beautiful new release of Georges Melies' legendary A Trip to the Moon (1902), you will wholeheartedly agree with me.
The newly restored hand-colored version of A Trip to the Moon has a fascinating history. In 1993, while researching the work of a Spanish director from the silent era, French film archivists learned that Filmoteca de Catalunya in Barcelona had an original hand-colored copy of Melies' film, which their Spanish colleagues were willing to trade. (Until then it was universally believed that such original copies no longer existed). The copy was sent to France in 1999, but a quick analysis immediately revealed that it had deteriorated so much that it was impossible to use for viewing or restoration. Seriously frustrated, the French archivists decided to wait for technology to advance before they begin experimenting with the film.
In 2010, three parties – Lobster Films, Groupama Gan Foundation and Technicolor Foundation for Cinema Heritage – joined forces and launched one of the most ambitious restoration projects ever. According to the Technicolor Foundation for Cinema official site, 13,375 frames had to be carefully restored, one by one. Then, after hundreds of hours of discussions, the restorers began reassembling Melies' film in Technicolor Creative Services in Los Angeles. Under the supervision of Tom Burton, and using multiple sources to compare and rebuild missing or seriously damaged parts, such as a black and white original nitrate print owned by the Melies family and a positive print kept in the vaults of Centre National du Cinema (CNC), the restorers were able to bring back to life a truly magical film which captivated the imagination of people 100 years ago.
After the restoration was completed, French ambient rockers Air were commissioned to compose a soundtrack for A Trip to the Moon. In 2011, the fully restored hand-colored version of A Trip to the Moon with the new soundtrack by Air premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.
The restored hand-colored version of A Trip to the Moon looks magnificent. I saw the film just a few hours ago and to say that I was utterly overwhelmed by it would be the understatement of the year. You will realize why once you also view the film and then see the terrific documentary included on this release where pieces of the damaged negatives that were discovered in Filmoteca de Catalunya are shown. It really is quite unbelievable to see what the restorers had done with them.
The film itself is approximately 15 minutes long and it is truly impossible to describe with simple words. It has spectacular sets and special effects which one cannot but admire. It is also surprisingly fluid, forcing one to immediately wonder how some of the more complex shots were done. The narrative is also quite fascinating, especially considering the fact that Melies was essentially able to accurately imagine the Moon's surface as well as the landing technique that will be used in the future. Absolutely fascinating.
A B&W version of A Trip to the Moon, sourced from a fine-grain master derived from a nitrate print made available by the Melies family, is also included. This version of the film can be seen with three separate audio tracks: an orchestral score by Robert Israel with an original spoken English narration written by Melies, a troupe of actors voicing the various characters as performed in the U.S. in 1903 with piano accompaniment by Frederick Hodges, and a separate piano accompaniment by Frederick Hodges. (Note: The B&W version of the film is approximately 13 minutes long).
A Trip to the Moon Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Georges Melies' A Trip to the Moon arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Flicker Alley.
The restoration truly is quite remarkable. Frankly, the depth and clarity the restored hand-colored version conveys at times are difficult to rationalize because if one sees the documentary film by Serge Bromberg and Eric Lange where the damaged negatives are shown one will rightfully question whether such outstanding results are indeed possible (see screencapture #1). The colors are also wonderfully well balanced. What impressed me the most, however, was the stability of the image. Yes, there are some frame skips (and keep in mind that this is how Melies did some of his 'special effects', with frame overlapping), but the film is indeed notably fluid and free of the massive stability issues silent films are often suffer from. Remarkable restoration.
The screencaptures included with our review appear in the following order:
1. A Trip to the Moon, restored hand-colored version: 1-9.
2. A Trip to the Moon, B&W version: 10-14.
3. Astronomer's Dream, B&W: 15-16.
4. The Eclipse, B&W: 17-19.
Note: This is a Region-A "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-A or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content.
A Trip to the Moon Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are seven audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc. Each is listed below:
1. A Trip to the Moon, restored hand-colored version, Air soundtrack: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
2. A Trip to the Moon, B&W version, Robert Israel Orchestral score: Dolby Digital 2.0.*
3. A Trip to the Moon, B&W version, actors and accompaniment by Frederick Hodges: LPCM 2.0.
4. A Trip to the Moon, B&W version, piano accompaniment by Frederick Hodges: LPCM 2.0.
5. The Astronomer's Dream: LPCM 2.0.
6. The Eclipse: LPCM 2.0.
7. The Extraordinary Voyage, directed by Serge Bromberg and Eric Lange: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.
Air's soundtrack and the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track are both excellent. There a is wide range of nuanced dynamics which I think will surprise quite a few viewers (or at least those who have not yet seen Coeur Fidèle and The Phantom Carriage). Clarity and fluidity are also outstanding.
I also quite liked Frederick Hodges' piano accompaniment, though I have to admit that viewing the B&W version of A Trip to the Moon with it is indeed an entirely different experience.
*My check disc is also missing the original spoken English narration by Georges Melies.
A Trip to the Moon Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
A Trip to the Moon Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Flicker Alley's Blu-ray release of Georges Melies' legendary film A Trip to the Moon is, hands down, the most incredible release to reach my desk since the high-definition format was launched. It is remarkable to see what Lobster Films, Groupama Gan Foundation and Technicolor Foundation for Cinema Heritage, the parties responsible for the film's restoration, have been able to accomplish. Serge Bromberg and Eric Lange's documentary film The Extraordinary Voyage is just as fascinating. This release belongs in every film collection. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
A Trip to the Moon: Other Editions
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A Trip to the Moon Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Park Circus Acquire Rights to Melies' A Trip to the Moon - July 27, 2012
British distributors Park Circus announced today that they have acquired the rights to George Melies' legendary film Le voyage dans la lune a.k.a A Trip to the Moon (1902), as well as Serge Bromberg's documentary about the film The Extraordinary Voyage.
• This Week on Blu-ray: April 10-17 - April 9, 2012
Given the renewed attention that last year's Hugo brought to Georges Méliès, it is fitting that this week sees the Blu-ray release of the early-cinema pioneer's A Trip to the Moon, the silent classic that figured so prominently in Martin Scorsese's Academy Award-winning ...
• A Trip to the Moon Blu-ray in the U.S. - January 13, 2012
Earlier this month Blu-ray.com announced that French distributors Lobster Films are preparing a Blu-ray release of Georges Méliès' legendary short film Le Voyage dans la Lune a.k.a A Trip to the Moon (1902). Flicker Alley have now revealed that they are also planning ...
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