A documentary that chronicles the cinematic journey of the iconic film A Trip to the Moon.A documentary that chronicles the cinematic journey of the iconic film A Trip to the Moon.A documentary that chronicles the cinematic journey of the iconic film A Trip to the Moon.
This documentary is paired with a hand-colored version of "A Trip to the Moon" (1902) on DVD and Blu-ray (again, from Flicker Alley) and is mostly about that film, with only an outline of the auteur's entire career and life. Yet, the best part of "The Extraordinary Voyage" is at its end when it examines the preservation and restoration work done with the hand-colored print--giving, albeit self-congratulatory, recognition to the film preservationists and archivists who've made Méliès's restoration happen. Here, we see the meticulous efforts by the likes of Eric Lange, of Lobster Films and co-director of this documentary, to preserve the newly discovered print by digitally photographing it frame-by-frame back in the 1990s. And, then, aided by improved digital computer technology in this decade, men like Nicholas Ricordel, of the CNC Film Archive, and Tom Burton, the Director of Technicolor Creative Services, re-assembled the color film by combining it with less-deteriorated black and white prints that were re-colorized. The result is extraordinary; I've never seen "A Trip to the Moon" look better.
Before this dénouement, "The Extraordinary Voyage" can be of some interest, but isn't as revealing. Information one can get from more thorough sources is provided, including telling the apocryphal story of how Méliès supposedly discovered stop substitutions (which, never mind, he wasn't actually the first to employ, anyways). The factory of a staff of over 300 women headed by a Madame Thullier who hand colored Méliès's films is covered. The piracy in America of "A Trip to the Moon" is mentioned as having come from a stolen reel of the film, which is the first I recall of hearing that. It seems more likely that films that were unethically duped were originally legally bought from the source. And, unfortunately, even stupid conspiracy theorists get a mention, as it's relayed that there are skeptics who believe the Apollo mission was faked by Stanley Kubrick. A narrator, talking heads and plenty of clips fill out this, overall, good introduction to Méliès and his masterpiece and an excellent story of the restoration of its hand-colored print.
- Aug 23, 2013