What you already know about A Trip to the Moon is that Georges Méliès was a pioneer in the field of special effects. The simple idea of removing an actor from the set but editing the film together so that he or she simply disappears is something a child could do with a consumer-grade video camera now. What you may not grasp is that it took real innovation 110 years ago. Meanwhile, the more traditional but no less fantastical element of elaborately designed and constructed sets is also impressive.
The hand-painted version is absolutely lovely to look at and the film itself is quite entertaining. The casual violence with which the moon men are dispatched may be a disconcerting look at the elitism of early twentieth century Europeans but that same casualness makes it kind of funny. There’s an enchanting nature to the adventure on screen, due mostly to the fact that you never believe these people are truly in danger. There’s a childlike innocence to the make-believe that may remind you of a time that you were young enough to believe it might be possible to get to the moon in a rocket hammered together in a barn.