Seeing films was a rarity in 1902, particularly because movie theatres were still scant in number at this point. Still, plopped in front of a screen as individuals moved back and forth in black-and-white, audience members were probably struck with a sense of awe, thinking that what they were seeing was a thing of magic and sorcery. I know I would have been confused and mystified just thinking about how something that was once so still was animatedly in motion right in front of me.
Had I seen A Trip to the Moon when it was first released, the previously mentioned emotions would have certainly been there. Compared to the other films released at the time, the creation of Meiles was rare for its use of new techniques in creating a world that was, at once, both familiar and mystical. The effort that the director put into telling an entirely new story was evident, with effects such as the explosions and flights, as well as the extravagant sets and costumes used. What’s more, though the size in which the film was shot allowed a limited perspective of the action, all of the presented tableaus overflowed with activity and craziness, all thanks to the hyper cast and story-tellers.
I’d like to think that A Trip was created not solely for money or fame. It was evident that, much like the starry-eyed wanderers in his film, Meiles wanted to venture into the unknown, to explore new possibilities. He did not want to be limited to what was set by convention, instead taking a risk in creating something that was quite challenging and peculiar in many ways. Because of this gamble, A Trip to the Moon serves as a milestone in what will become an industry fuelled by technology, stories, and imagination.