Sample essay on Micro Analysis of the film “A Trip to the Moon” (1902)

Micro Analysis of the film “A Trip to the Moon” (1902)

A Trip to the Moon” (1902) film has four elements that ensure the audience can get meaning from a piece of work. The film elements can be divided into micro and the macro elements (Barsam and Dave 80). The micro elements will be the focus in this paper. This paper aims to critically analyze the microelements of the film A Trip to the Moon as they have been used to bring out meaning to the audience. The micro elements to be analyzed include mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing and sound. Furthermore, the paper will look at the weakest elements used in the film and why they are not considered the weakest. The film A Trio to the Moon is about a group of scientists who want to leave earth and go the moon. They have difficulties in agreeing on the method to use to travel to the moon but eventually agree to use a shell. Their trip is tainted by events after event and finally they manage to return to earth after being attacked by a tribe living on the moon.


Mise-en-scene includes everything that an audience can see in a film scene (Tseng 24). The film A Trip to the moon begins with a scene showing a room with scientific apparatus including a black board. On the black board there is a drawing of an image of earth and one of the moon. The room is filled with several people dressed in same attire which make them appear to be in uniform. The people in the room are handed microscope like props buy ladies who then leave the room. My observation as far as mise-en-scene is concern is that the uniform that the people in the room are wearing serves the purpose of letting the audience knows that the people are in one profession. The microscope that the ladies hand the people in the room compliments the uniform in letting the audience identify the people as scientist. The apparatus hanging on the roof of the room indicate a scientific environment. A man comes in led by the ladies who hand over microscopes. My observation is that the man is the main character as when he starts to draw things on the blackboard the rest listen to him. In another scene an incomplete structure of a shell is seen as the builders seem to be completing the structure as the scientist survey the structure. The purpose of this prop is to show the progress made in an effort to go to the moon by the scientists. In a scene where the scientists are ushered in preparation to leave earth for the moon, there is use of police in uniform and officials watching the scientist board the shell to the moon. The use of police, ladies in uniform and officials is to bring the feeling of occasion in honor of the scientists as they launch. The use of a moon increasing from a small size to a larger size and eventually the scientist shell landing on it is to make the audience see the journey made and the arrival on the moon.


The film starts with a straight angle long shot of the room where the characters are. According to Keating (56), the purpose of the longshot is to introduce the characters to the audience. In the film, the camera angle is always straight with the long shot all through the film. The camera is always shaking indicating that it was hand held at the time of filming. The long shot use of camera in the film is always to show the characters, the costumes they have on action and their body language. In the film we see the characters in the meeting being restless as the main scientist try to explain to them how they will reach the moon from each. There is disruption of the meeting which sees some pushing and shoving. The cinematography was successful in its effort to bring out the characters, their body language and action in each scene. The long shot was also used during the launch of the shell to the moon and showed the officials and ladies who came to see of the scientists.


The film has very few editing instances. All the scenes are long and continuous. However in several scenes like when the scientist are involved in a struggle with the tribe from the moon, there is use of editing as the scientist disappear from the grasp of the tribesmen. When the scientist land on the moon, editing is used to show the abrupt landing of the shell on the moon. Transition from one scene to another all through the film is through the use of normal fade in. According to me, editing is the weakest element used in the film. The reason for my observation is that editing could have been used more to identify the main character and for frequent transition within the scenes. The purpose of editing in this film was to give the audience thrill through the abrupt disappearing of characters. Editing has also been used for continuity of the film from one scene to another.

At the time of making the film A Trip to the moon, there was no use of sound in film making therefore the element of sound lacked in all the films at that time. In conclusion the film A Trip to the moon experienced three micro elements of film. The use of cinematography which involves camera shots and angles of camera was used with long shots being the only type of shot with a straight angle. Use of mise-en-scene was evident in the film, with costumes, props, and character positioning. The facial expression was not as clear but the body language of the characters was clear. In the film there was no use of color which did not get used in films till later. However light was used as the characters, set up and props were well visible to the audience.

Improvement that can be made in the film A Trip to the moon


As seen in the first essay, the weakest element of all was editing. The film used editing in very little instances. Lack of editing and transition can make a film boring and monotonous. The audience wants to get closer to the characters and without some elements of editing, then it cannot be achieved. This part of the easy will be a critical essay that aims to look at the improvements that editing of the film need to make the film more appealing.

A combination of different camera shot types could help in transition. One way that use of close up camera shot and editing would improve the movie is to introduce the main character. In the film the main character was only identified by his positioning in the set. Editing would help the audience know the audience gets closer to the character, see their face and in turn help them see their reaction and emotions. Seeing the emotions of the character can help the audience share the sentiments. Use of shot reverse shot could also be used in the improvement of the film.

Shot reverse is when there is a conversation between characters and the change of camera switches to one of the character as they talk. A good example is when the main scientist was explaining to the seated group of scientist about how they will reach the moon. Use of shot reverse shot could help the audience feel that the other scientist is listening to the main scientist. A good comparison in terms of the effects that editing has on a film is the film Life of an American Fireman. In the film editing is used very effectively in transition. From the time the fireman reminisces about his wife and kid to the time he is in the fire station and waking up to an alarm call. The continuity in transition makes the audience want to know what will happen next and is not bored with one long scene. The events and scenes covered in both films differ because one uses few transitions from one scene to another while another has short scenes.

Work Cited

Barsam, Richard M, and Dave Monahan. Looking at Movies: An Introduction to Film. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2013. Print.

Keating, Patrick. Cinematography. 2014. Print.

Tseng, Chiao-I. Cohesion in Film: Tracking Film Elements. Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. Internet resource.