Never go to the moon with a cold

An international space ship lands on the moon. The first feelings of exhilaration are suddenly tempered by the sight of an old British flag and a document declaring the moon in the name of Queen Victoria. On Earth an investigation is launched to get to the bottom of the matter. The investigation unearths the name Arnold Bedford (Edward Judd). Now in an old age home Bedford tells the press the story of how he, Professor Joseph Cavor (Lionel Jeffries) and a woman named Kate Callender (Martha Hyer) went to the moon in 1899.

Cavor was an inventor. He invented a substance that when painted on will allow anything to deflect gravity. He calls it Cavorite. With Cavorite he plans on painting a sphere that will take him to the moon. By mistake he ends up taking Bedford and Kate with him. Once they reach the moon they do some exploring. They stumble on an underground civilization populated by a race of human sized insect creatures called Selenites. The Selenites are not happy to have these invaders in their midst.

"First Men In The Moon" was released in 1964 and was directed by Nathan Juran. This is another movie where Ray Harryhausen’s talent shines. He created 7 different special effects for Nigel Kneale’s adaptation of the H.G. Wells novel “The First Men in the Moon”. He created the Moonship, Space Sphere, Moon Cow, Kate Calendar’s Skeleton, Selenite (bug creature), and Grand Lunar (grand bug creature). All the technical effects were wonderful. The acting was good. Especially Lionel Jeffries performance as Professor Joseph Cavor. I was also pleased with the action and atmosphere of being inside the moon.

The problem I had is the whole first half of the movie. It was slow and boring and took forever to get to the moon. I was OK with the very beginning where the world’s astronauts get to the moon and find the British flag. The beginning of the story needed to be laid out so that you knew how the original ship got to the moon and who the players are in the first landing. However, once you’ve introduced everyone I need to see some action in my action movie. As far as I’m concerned the movie didn’t really start until they actually were on the moon. Once there the whole movie changed into a wonderland of exotic creatures and a far more interesting tale.

I was fine with all the inconsistencies in the movie as compared with real scientific facts. This is after all Science Fiction and as such belief must be suspended in order to enjoy the sights and sounds unfolding on the screen. I don’t care that there is air or gravity underground. I don’t care that they are wearing diving suits. I don’t care that they don’t have gloves on. And I don’t care about the plethora of other anachronisms or factual errors in real science. After all we are talking about three people in 1899 going to the moon because of a paint invented by Cavor that deflects gravity and meeting a race of insect type creatures that live inside it. No one complained about that not being real.

I just want to be entertained. The first half no. The second half absolutely.