Is A Trip To The Moon Steampunk?

Is A Trip To The Moon Steampunk? Let’s have a look at some of the key elements of the movie in order to decide whether it meets the criteria in order to be classified as steampunk or not. If not, does it fit into one of the other punk aesthetics? Let’s find out. 

Before we get into whether A Trip To The Moon is steampunk or not, let’s look at what the film is about to get a flavor as to whether it is steampunk or not. 

Movie Title: A Trip To The Moon

Studio: Méliès Studios, Star-Film

Director: Georges Méliès

Story By: Jules Vern, H.G. Wells, Georges Méliès

Release Date: October 4, 1902 (United States)

Main Actors: Georges Méliès, Victor André, Bleuette Bernon

Synopsis: An association of astronomers has convened to listen to the plan of Professor Barbenfouillis, for them to travel to the moon.

With the one dissenting voice quashed by Barbenfouillis and the other members, the plan is approved with Barbenfouillis choosing five members to accompany him.

Most of the preparation for the trip is in building the vessel, which resembles a large bullet and a large gun respectively. The six travelers land safely at their destination, only to be captured by ‘moon-men’, to then escape and return to earth.

What Makes a Movie Steampunk?

Before we answer the question, is A Trip To The Moon steampunk? Let’s have a look at some of the key characteristics of a steampunk movie.

There are a number of elements that need to combine in order to classify a movie as steampunk. 

Check out our in depth guide as to what makes a movie steampunk for more information on this. Whether something fits into the steampunk genre or not is a topic that is always up for hot debate in the forums. 

As steampunk sadly never existed, there is no history to check the validity against, however, there is some faux pas that means that something is clearly not steampunk. 

Things such as this we would class as being ‘steampunk inspired’, i.e. they don’t traditionally conform to the steampunk genre, but they have taken elements from it to inspire them

As a quick recap, we’ve lined up our top 10 elements to look out for in a steampunk movie.

If you’re interested in learning more about steampunk, check out our article, ‘What is Steampunk?’, which will take you through the history, influences, fashions, gadgets, and much more. 

Top 10 Things to Look Out for In a Steampunk Movie

  1. The Use of Steam – In steampunk, electricity has never been invented, everything is mechanical and powered by steam. This means that if you can see digital machinery in a movie, it isn’t traditional steampunk, therefore it may be classified as ‘steampunk inspires’  
  2. Steam Powered Vehicles – In steampunk movies, as with the above, you will only see vehicles powered by steam, cars, ships, and even submarines.
  3. Airships – Airships are popular within the steampunk genre – again, mechanically powered.  
  4. Set In Victorian Era or an Alternative History – Steampunk is set in either the Victorian Era (19th Century), or in an alternative, future, occasionally depicted as a ‘wild west’ setting. 
  5. The Clothing – Clothing can vary, but is normally focused around the fashions of Victorian England, or that of a colonial explorer. 
  6. Augmented Mechanical Humans – In steampunk, persons can normally be seen with mechanically replaced elements to their body, sometimes these are full replacements, other times, a mechanical exoskeleton.
  7. Gadgets & Gears – futuristic (mechanical) gadgets are common place in the steampunk genre. A personal favorite is a gun that mechanically springs from up a sleeve to the user’s hand, ready and poised for use. Gears can be seen throughout the steampunk genre, emphasizing the mechanical theme that is central to the aesthetic.  
  8. Time Travel – Time travel is no an essential component of steampunk, however, it can be seen in some steampunk works. Just remember that the time travel device needs to be mechanical and not digital/ electronic.
  9. The Paranormal – The paranormal is not traditional steampunk, however, the crossover between the genres is common. The villain in steampunk is normally a man made creation as opposed to being a mythical creature, demon, vampire, etc. 
  10. Advanced Technology – Technology that is advanced for its time is a standard theme throughout steampunk. The technology must be mechanical in nature, such as the analog computer.

If you’re interested in steampunk movies, why not check out our guide to the best steampunk movies, and see if you can find a new favorite?

So, let’s take a look, is A Trip To The Moon steampunk?

What Elements of A Trip To The Moon Are Steampunk?

A Trip to the Moon, as influenced by Jules Verne’s, ‘From Earth to the Moon’, and HG Wells, ‘First Men in the Moon’, both huge influences on the steampunk genre.

The travelers are dressed as Victorian gentlemen and the values of the victorian era can be seen throughout. As the malles are explorers, there is that element of colonialism, all in keeping with what can be seen in the steampunk aesthetic.

The rocket built is no doubt influenced by Jules Vern. It is riveted together from large sheets of metal, in keeping with the inventions that can be seen in steampunk. The bullet shaped rocket is made out of iron, which alongside brass, is common within steampunk settings.

Finally, in the early scenes of the film, human figures can be seen with prosthetics, again, in keeping with the steampunk genre.

What Elements of A Trip To The Moon Are NOT Steampunk?

There are no elements of this film that are not steampunk. The only remote issue could be at the time it was produced. This was at the end of the Victorian era, which does make it hard to be retro-futuristic, as the Victorian era was not ‘retro’ at this time.

So, Overall Is A Trip To The Moon Steampunk?

Yes, A Trip To The Moon is a steampunk classic. The fashion, values, invention are all there to make this one of the earliest movies to embrace this genre.

What are your thoughts? Is the movie A Trip To The Moon steampunk? Let us know in the comments below what your opinion is and why.

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