Space exploration

Woman in the Moon

This 1929 movie is the grandfather of the modern space rocket movie. Fritz Lang’s German silent film has a reputation for being over-long and sluggish during its first half. But if you like Lang’s spy yarns, the build-up is pure cinematic delight — and when the actual space voyage gets underway, it is as riveting today as it was 90 years ago. Thanks to the help of the world’s leading rocket scientists, the scientific accuracy is eerily prophetic. 9/10

Our Heavenly Bodies

A forgotten German educational film with strong SF elements, Wunder der Schöpfung takes us on a ride in a spaceship to visit the planets and the stars. Director Hanns Walter Kornblum worked with nine animators and six cinematographers to create astounding special effects that hold up to any other masterpiece made in the twenties. (8/10)

Aelita, Queen of Mars

∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗ (8/10) Ostensibly Russia’s/USSR’s first sci-fi film, this political 1924 space fantasy lays down a surprisingly intelligent criticism of the communist revolution, once you look past the clunky, propagandistic symbolism […]

A Trip to Jupiter

∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗ (9/10) While derivative of Georges Méliès’ space voyages, Segundo de Chomon’s silent short from 1909 is a tour de force of innovative camera use, seamless special effects and stunning […]

The ‘?’ Motorist

∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗ (6/10) Walter R. Booth’s short film is a subversive and funny trick film about a couple of mad motorists that speed through the British streets, toppling police officers, riding […]

The Moon Lover

∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗ (7/10) A drunken romantic reaches for the moon in this warmly whimsical 1905 pseudo-sci-fi film by French trick filmer Gaston Velle. Clearly inspired by Georges Méliès, but with a […]

The Impossible Voyage

∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗∗ (7/10) Pioneering film maker Georges Méliès’ 1904 follow-up to the groundbreaking A Trip to the Moon is perhaps his most beautiful film, but the master is starting to repeat himself. The […]

A Trip to the Moon

This 1902 film about a trip to the moon and an encounter with aliens is in many senses the first of its kind, notable for its large budget, entertaining and fantastical story, state of the art special effects and lavish, moving sets. A true benchmark not only for sci-fi films, but for the medium of film as a whole.