H.G. Wells’ First Men in the Moon (2017)

Lots of Selenites!
Lots of Selenites!
Our story begins...
Our story begins…

Two Victorian gentlemen take a trip to the moon and encounter an underground civilisation created by beings known as Selenites.

 Eccentric scientist Cavor's sphere is ready for launch
Eccentric scientist Cavor’s sphere is ready for launch
The protagonists arrive on the moon...
The protagonists arrive on the moon…
...and are captured by Selenites
…and are captured by Selenites
A Selenite holds a prodder-type staff that can give off electric shocks
A Selenite holds a prodder-type staff that can give off electric shocks

This is animator Brett Piper’s adaptation of the H.G. Wells science fiction classic – and it is told in just seven minutes. Yikes! The story certainly zips along at a cracking pace.

Selenites are bred to perform specific tasks for their society
Selenites are bred to perform specific tasks for their society
A Selenite with big legs & feet runs on a treadmill that helps to power the subterranean world
A Selenite with big legs & feet runs on a treadmill to help power the subterranean world

Brett, who has created such fun full-length, low budget stop-motion gems as A NYMPHOID BARBARIAN IN DINOSAUR HELL (1990), ARACHNIA (2003), CLAWS (2015) and TRICLOPS (2016), handles this project with a deft, light touch.

A Selenite tinkers with some apparatus
A thinker Selenite tinkers with some apparatus

I especially liked the depiction of the different, amusing types of Selenites (really strong ones, really tiny ones, etc) and the conversation the protagonists have with the Grand Lunar, explaining to him the war-like nature of mankind, is cool (and quite damning).

An audience with the leader of the selenites: the Grand Lunar
An audience with the leader of the selenites: the Grand Lunar
"You mean to say that Earthmen are constantly killing each other in huge numbers for no apparent purpose?"
Grand Lunar: “You mean to say that Earthmen are constantly killing each other in huge numbers for no apparent purpose?”
This Selenite's a heavy-lifter!
This strong Selenite is a heavy-lifter!
A Selenite scientist uses a specifically-designed nose to sniff out different chemicals
A Selenite scientist uses a specifically-designed nose to sniff out different chemicals
Mini-Selenites!
Mini-Selenites!
A front view shot of the Grand Lunar stop-motion model used in the film
Profile view of the Grand Lunar stop-motion model. Love how the back of the throne supports his massive cranium!
Selenites are shocked at the thought of the large-scale wars on Earth
Selenites are shocked at the thought of the large-scale wars on Earth

The stop-motion models are charming, built with a great economy of design, Dave Fitzgerald’s vocal work is also perfect for the production and I liked Brett’s depiction of the mooncalf (a food source for the Selenites) as a kind of grey-skinned, semi-comical quadruped with small antenna-like protrusions on its bulky head. 

A mooncalf is prodded by a Selenite
A mooncalf is prodded by a Selenite
Stop prodding the poor mooncalf!
Stop prodding the poor mooncalf!

Since making FIRST MEN IN THE MOON Brett has tackled a TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA short and has now just finished his mini-version of JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH. Hopefully all of these adaptations will be released together one day!

FIRST MEN IN THE MOON is available as an extra on the DVD for Brett’s OUTPOST EARTH.

The End

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