Over the weekend, the KCRW Music Blog took a trip to the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica for a SOLD OUT “Trip to the Moon.”
That is a screening of Georges Meliés‘ completely spectacular 1902 classic film (and first international sci-fi blockbuster actually,) “Le Voyage Dans La Lune.” Between all the Oscar buzz for Hugo and a brand new album by AIR which is inspired by and works as a new score to the film, 2012 is shaping up to be a banner year for Meliés, who is arguably the father of not only the modern cinematic spectacle but was also an innovator of camera technology and film editing techniques.
“Le Voyage Dans La Lune” is so ubiquitous that even people who haven’t seen it, know it. An image as indelible as Micky Mouse himself, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who’s never seen the image of a rocket poking the eyeball of the Man in the Moon. The film is less than 20 minutes long, but took over 3 painstaking months to shoot. Then was edited, and eventually individual reels of the film were hand-painted.
A stunningly brilliant work of art and possibly the first truly studio film, it’s a kind of hundred year old Sistine Chapel meets Avatar. “A Trip to the Moon” is a whimsical fantasia about wizards shooting themselves into the moon. Upon landing and taking a nap, they encounter Mugwumpy/Lobster contortionist dudes who the wizards proceed to kill with umbrellas. Something about mushrooms happens and then the wizards (SPOILER ALERT) kill the Lobsterdude King too. They toss their rocket off the edge of the Moon and fall back to Earth, where they are greeted as heroes and treated to a rad parade and party!
It’s amazing. And AIRs re-score to the film is not only a truly excellent modern accompaniment to the work, it feels like a wonderful (dare I say fated) combination for a retro-futuristic duo who named their debut album Moon Safari and had a single called “Surfing on a Rocket.” Here is another track from the new soundtrack, “Cosmic Trip“.
The new album is available as a Deluxe Edition CD/DVD with a copy of the film featuring their score, which is a lovely tribute and fantastic means of introducing this generation to a timelessly inventive film that was not only the first international cinematic hit but also experienced great losses due to piracy and at one point was feared lost completely. It is a dreamy masterpiece and has more inspiration per frame than the great majority of things we put in our eyes these days. And it’s new accompanying soundtrack is a good spacey dream for the ears too.
— Mario Cotto