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A Trip to the Moon (1902) - Blu-ray Review

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A Trip to the Moon - Blu-ray review

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Le voyage dans la lune

5 Stars

Is there a more influential 15 minutes in film history?  Famed director Martin Scorsese – who featured the celebrated Georges Melies and his film in his award-winning Hugo – doesn’t think so.  You shouldn’t either.  In what goes down as the most important blu-ray release of the year, a remastered – using a discovered hand-tinted print of the classic stored for digital restoration in the 1990’s – version of A Trip to the Moon lands on High Definition courtesy of Flicker Alley.

It can be argued that imagination begins here with 1902’s A Trip to the Moon.  Quiet in form, but so loud in its vision that even those who haven’t seen it feel they already have.  Now, with the long thought lost and forgotten colorized print (as originally intended), no one has an excuse to avoid this masterpiece.

A professor decides to honor his dream of travelling to the moon.  He is mocked by his inquisitive contemporaries, but decides to commit to the idea anyway.  A goal means nothing if not achieved and he means to step on some lunar surface.  The silent film documents his search for a rocket, the actual takeoff, and the bizarre things he witnesses on the moon.  Upon returning, he is heralded as a hero among men.

Melies wrote and directed the film and, as a consequence of his enduring vision, influenced most of our notions of space travel and the art surrounding it.  Melies was the man.  A Trip to the Moon was filmed in his studio, with his camera and, already as a pioneer in the medium, was a technical wizard with the material.  Using in-camera tricks and unique editing choices, he was able to cast a spell over audiences with astounding uses of the camera.  Periscopial zooms are used and dissolves – a major character in most science fiction films – make, if not their debut, a lasting effect.

With an atmospheric score provided by the electronic vibe-makers AIR, A Trip to the Moon sounds as glossy as it looks.  The cells have been handled with deliberate care and the colors wash with a grandiose gleam long since robbed from the public.  It’s a release that Melies would certainly approve of as it showcases his brilliance with film – especially for an era so long passed.

In the 110 years since its debut, man has been to the moon and back several times, but never has he come down from the highs of the space odyssey that is A Trip to the Moon.  Now, it can be revisited as it was originally intended thanks to this special limited edition release.

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A Trip to the Moon - Blu-ray reviewMPAA Rating: Rated G for general audiences.
Director
: Georges Méliès
Writer: Georges Méliès (uncredited)
Cast:
Victor André; Bleuette Bernon; Brunnet; Jeanne d'Alcy; Henri Delannoy (all uncredited)
Genre
: Adventure | Sci-Fi | Fantasy
Tagline:
A Trip to the moon.
Memorable Movie Quote: ""
Theatrical Distributor:
American Mutoscope & Biograph
Home Video Distributor: Flicker Entertainment
Official Site: www.flickeralley.com/fat_trip_01.html
Theatrical Release Date: October 4, 1902
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
April 10, 2012

Synopsis: A group of astronomers go on an expedition to the moon.

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A Trip to the Moon - Blu-ray review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
5 Stars

4 stars



Blu-ray Experience
4.5 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - April 10, 2012
Screen Formats: 1.33:1
Subtitles
: English
Audio:
Music: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Music: Dolby Digital 2.0; Music: LPCM 2.0
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); DVD copy
Encoding: Locked to Region A

Presented in a full-screen format, A Trip to the Moon is wonderfully detailed with hand-tinted colors and care.  Since the original print is included with the release, side-by-side comparisons reveal just how much effort went into the restoration. Lobster Films, Technicolor Foundation, and Foundation for Cinema Heritage are the firms involved in the restoration and release. Together, they worked and massaged close to 14,000 antiquated plates as they painted each and every cell by hand. While it will never look the way it was meant to when first premiered, the restoration does a solid job of cleaning up the existing print, sharpening the contrast, and removing loose dirt, hair, some scratches, and other debris. The sound, presented in an atmospheric and robust DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix, has been wonderfully designed to coincide with the music and works best if played loud. For purists, the original black and white version contains an orchestral score by Robert Israel.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Sadly, there is none.

Special Features:

Part of the limited edition quality of this release comes from the outside packaging. Placed inside a wonderfully decorated steel box, A Trip to the Moon is a must-own for collectors. If not purchased during its limited edition run, there are a number of other reasons to own it. The supplemental material is pretty exciting for fans of Georges Melies and his work. First up is an excellent documentary that features interviews with Costa Gavras, Michel Gondry, Michael Hazanavicius, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet all waxing poetic on the visionary’s significance to the film community and discusses just how important film preservation is to the culture. AIR takes the stage with a brief discussion of their composition that accompanies the newly restored print. Next is a non-color version of A Trip to the Moon with two different audio tracks.  Finally, there are two short films, The Eclipse (from 1904) and The Astronomer’s Dream (from 1898) for those wanting more Melies.

  • The Extraordinary Voyage (66 min)
  • Interview With Air (11 min)
  • A Trip to the Moon (B&W Version) (13 min)
  • The Astronomer's Dream (4 min)
  • The Eclipse (10 min)

The following comes from Flicker Alley's website regarding a Blu-ray disc authoring issue:

Dear Flicker Alley Customer: Please note that one of the bonus feature audio options on the Blu-ray disc of our limited SteelBook edition -- A Trip to the Moon in B&W Audio Option 1, featuring Robert Israel's orchestral score and the original English narration written by Georges Melies -- is currently missing its narration track and only features Robert Israel's orchestral score - All Blu-ray discs shipped at this time will be with this orchestral score only configuration.

This only affects the Blu-ray disc of this set. The DVD disc in this publication contains the audio for this bonus feature as described on the packaging.

We are in the process of remastering and remanufacturing a Blu-ray disc which will have the English narration/Robert Israel's orchestral score configuration for this particular bonus feature. If interested, we will make it available, by request, to customers who fill out our on-line Disc Replacement Form below.

Please complete the following form with as much of your original order information as possible (to verify your purchase) and we will contact you once the replacement discs have been manufactured and are ready for shipment.

Disc Replacement Form

We are very sorry for this occurrence and appreciate your business.

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