Still Watching the Skies: Episode 112 “A Trip to the Moon & A Trip to Mars”

Robert, Nat, and Cody take a look at two of the earliest science fiction movies, A TRIP TO THE MOON and A TRIP TO MARS.

1902’s A TRIP TO THE MOON is one of Georges Méliès, and cinema’s, first attempts at a narrative and has delighted audiences for over 100 years.

A Trip to the Moon

Yet, A TRIP TO THE MOON is truly from another time. A time when people were still discovering the possibilities and where some of the things we take for granted, like intertitles, weren’t yet fully established. It’s still a fascinating watch and would you believe the conversation runs nearly twice the run time of the film? Of course you would.


A TRIP TO MARS aka HIMMELSKIBET aka HEAVEN SHIP aka EXCELSIOR is one of the first serious science fiction films made and while separated by a mere 16 years from A TRIP TO THE MOON feels of an entirely different evolutionary branch. Filmed during the latter stages of World War I, A TRIP TO MARS is most definitely a plea for peace and tolerance.

A Trip to Mars

Denmark was one of the thriving film capitols of the world in the 1910s, competing with the likes of Hollywood and France. So, A TRIP TO MARS is no minor curiosity but one of the more ambitious films of its time. It concerns the ambitions of Avanti Planetaros (Gunnar Tolnæs), a military hero, who organizes a trip to Mars in the spaceship Excelsior. Avanti must overcome conflict with his crew as they doubt the successful conclusion of the journey and plan mutiny. And, once they arrive at Mars, they encounter something they weren’t expecting, a peaceful civilization.

A Trip to Mars

A TRIP TO MARS is not subtle in its message of peace and tolerance, but it certainly is heartfelt. And with World War I raging next door to Denmark who can blame them for making sure their message comes through loud and clear.

A Trip to Mars

A TRIP TO MARS was lost for decades, but was found and restored in 2006. And I think all on the podcast agree that it’s certainly a film worthy of renewed interest. Certainly it’s not a subtle film and lacks conflict, but it’s also ambitious and serious in a way that would take a long time to find acceptance among the science fiction audience. We have a lot to say about the film and while it may not be anyone’s favorite, it certainly provoked a lot of conversation.

A Trip to Mars

No need to create your own interplanetary craft. You can give us a play below or Download the episode. Also, feel free to let us know what you think by commenting on our page at Facebook or you can Email Us at as we appreciate feedback.

A Trip to the Moon & A Trip to Mars

Time tracks:
0:00 – A TRIP TO THE MOON Discussion
27:26 – A TRIP TO MARS Discussion
1:04:21- Next Movie and Outro

Next month, we jump back to more modern times and still relevant concerns with THE BROTHER FROM ANOTHER PLANET courtesy of John Sayles. We hope you’ll join us.

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