A Doodle for Méliès

Google honors the great filmmaker with an impressive little short film (or something like it).

Google’s “Doodles” don’t often really quicken my pulse. However, today’s Doodle, honoring the work of the great pioneer of film, George Méliès, is a real treat. Designed and delivered in a virtual reality format (or, alternatively, as a 360° video), the Doodle takes an approach that Méliès himself would have loved: it does fairly little else but create a near-perfect illusion and amaze us with what is technically possible in a new visual medium, cleverly used.

Fans of Méliès’s work will love the amount of detail that went into making this, and will have a fun time finding all the references to his films. Others might want to look up some of his films and be amazed by the effects he managed to achieve in his day, quite without any digital trickery. Others again might just want to rewatch (re-experience?) this nicely done 360° piece in order to observe the action from different angles and take in all the side shows.

For those who want a bit more background information, there is something like a behindthescenes page that includes a biographical/historical contextualization by Laurent Mannoni of the Cinémathèque Française, as well as some insightful remarks by co-director Hélène Leroux. There is also an online exhibition on Méliès, which is a must-see for anyone at least casually interested in the history of film and cinema. (It will probably provide little new info for those who already have a solid knowledge of the subject matter.) In any case, the nice little animation of the day is very well worth two minutes of pretty much anyone’s time. “Come and dream” with George Méliès!

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