Thursday, December 18, 2008

Le Voyage Dans La Lune

So I've recently been having some nostalgia about old-school MTV, when they played music videos on a regular basis, many of them being very good and creative! What a concept! Sadly, these days are gone, but luckily, MTV has launched, where you can look up just about any video that you crave, and watch it.

That being said, one of my all-time favorite videos is the Smashing Pumpkins' "Tonight, Tonight."

It is beautiful in its surrealistic imagery, and the video actually has a coherent, structured plot that is engaging and entertaining the entire way through. The plot consists of a Victorian space-ship take-off and moon-landing, and the music is elegantly complimented by the original cinematography. Bottom line, one of the best videos ever.

But did you know that it actually takes its entire storyline, literally scene-by-scene, from a French silent film from 1902? The film, by Georges Mlis, is called Le Voyage Dans La Lune, and is considered the first science-fiction film ever made.

It is inspired by Jules Verne's book From the Earth to the Moon, and contains some brilliant special effects, that still hold up over 100 years later. Most memorable is the iconic image of the man in the moon getting hit in the eye with the spaceship. I love all the imagery and scenes in the original film, many of them are pretty bizarre.

After watching the original film, then re-watching the Smashing Pumpkins' version, completely new dimensions are added to the music video. The video stands up great on its own as a work of art, but once it's viewed as an homage to the original, it gains an entirely new level of depth, while at the same time losing some of its originality.

Actually, now that I think about it, that image of the man in the moon used to haunt my dreams as a small child... and I don't even remember where I first saw it! I guess that means it's pretty effective imagery.

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