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A Trip to the Moon (1902) - Plot Summary Poster

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Summaries

  • 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.

  • An association of astronomers has convened to listen to the plan of Professor Barbenfouillis, their president, to fly to the moon. With the one dissenting voice quashed by Barbenfouillis and the other members, the plan is approved with Barbenfouillis choosing five others to accompany him. Most of the preparation for the trip is in building the vessel and launching mechanism, which resemble a large bullet and a large gun respectively. Hitting the moon in the eye, the six land safely at their destination. They find that much about the moon is wonderful and fantastical, but also that much is not what they would have liked to encounter as it is life threatening. They have to find a way to get out of their alien predicament to get back home safely.

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  • Comprised of 30 spectacular tableaux and using 18 fabulously elaborate decors, the innovative and audacious director, Georges Méliès, presents its audience with an imaginative, turn-of-the-century fantasy extravaganza. Under the intrepid Professor Barbenfouillis' presidency at the renowned Institute of Incoherent Astronomy, its esteemed members all conclude that it is high time they ventured into the great unknown by organising an exploratory expedition to the Moon. Before long, the fearless pioneers will land their bullet-shaped spaceship on the seemingly desolate lunar plains, witnessing firsthand the marvels of deep space, unaware; however, that the hordes of the Moon Emperor's dreadful Selenites are ready to fend off the intruders. Can the scientists escape from the dangerous but fascinating celestial body?

  • This early silent film by master artist and film pioneer Georges Melies is considered a classic by many film buffs. Although it runs for only 14 minutes this whimsical fantasy really focuses on an astronomers dream.

  • A group of astronomers studies the way to travel to the moon. When they conclude their project, the president selects five other astronomers to travel with him. They embark in a shell and they are shot from a giant cannon to the moon. When they land, they seek shelter in a cave to protect from the snow. They meet the Selenites, the alien inhabitants of the moon, and they are destroyed by the astronomers that find that a strong hit make them explode. However, they arrive in large number and the astronomers are captured by the Selenites. But one astronomer hits their king that explodes and they run to the capsule pursued by the alien. They drop the capsule that falls through the space and reach the ocean. Then they are rescued by a steamer that brings the team safe and sound ashore.

  • A group of astronomers go on an expedition to the Moon.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • At a meeting of the Astronomic Club, its president, Professor Barbenfouillis, proposes a trip to the Moon. After addressing some dissent, five other brave astronomers: Nostradamus, Alcofrisbas, Omega, Micromegas, and Parafaragaramus agree to the plan. They build a space capsule in the shape of a bullet, and a huge cannon to shoot it into space. The astronomers embark and their capsule is fired from the cannon with the help of "marines" (most of whom are played by a bevy of young women in sailors' outfits). The Man in the Moon watches the capsule as it approaches, and it hits him in the eye.

    Landing safely on the Moon, the astronomers get out of the capsule (without the need of space suits) and watch the Earth rise in the distance. Exhausted by their journey, they unroll their blankets and sleep. As they sleep, a comet passes, the Big Dipper appears with human faces peering out of each star, old Saturn leans out of a window in his ringed planet, and Phoebe, goddess of the Moon, appears seated in a crescent-moon swing. Phoebe causes a snowfall that awakens the astronomers, and they seek shelter in a cavern where they discover giant mushrooms. One astronomer opens his umbrella; it promptly takes root and turns into a giant mushroom itself.

    At this point, a Selenite (an insectoid alien inhabitant of the Moon, named after one of the Greek moon goddesses, Selene) appears, but it is killed easily by an astronomer, as the creatures explode if they are hit with force. More Selenites appear and it becomes increasingly difficult for the astronomers to destroy them as they are surrounded. The Selenites capture the six astronomers and take them to the palace of their king. An astronomer lifts the Selenite King off his throne and throws him to the ground, causing him to explode.

    The astronomers run back to their capsule while continuing to hit the pursuing Selenites, and five get inside. The sixth astronomer, Barbenfouillis himself, uses a rope to tip the capsule over a ledge on the Moon and into space. A Selenite tries to seize the capsule at the last minute. Astronomer, capsule, and Selenite fall through space and land in an ocean on Earth, where they are rescued by a ship and towed ashore.

    The final sequence depicts a celebratory parade in honor of the travelers' return, including a display of the captive Selenite and the unveiling of a commemorative statue bearing the motto "Labor omnia vincit".

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