Google is celebrating the life and artistry of French film pioneer Georges Méliès today with a charming VR short that commemorates his iconic silent films including the groundbreaking A Trip to the Moon (1902).

Releasing today, the 106th anniversary of his celebrated silent film The Conquest of the Pole (1912)people surfing the web will get an eye-full of the charming distillation of Méliès’ life work in the aptly titled VR short Back to the Moon. The experience can be seen by everyone surfing Google today in 360, as it sits in the coveted ‘Doodle’ spot above the search bar. A VR version is also available for Cardboard, Daydream, and SteamVR-compatible headsets (links below).

The experience introduces you to an illusionist, an adventurous queen of hearts and an evil green man. The action is remarkably well-directed, drawing your attention to relevant parts of the action as it unfolds. A distinctly hand-drawn quality is charming to say the least.

Google created Back to the Moon in collaboration with Google Doodle, Google Spotlight Stories, Google Arts & Culture, and Cinémathèque Française. The short was produced by Nexus Studios and co-directed by Fx Goby and Google Doodles’ Hélène Leroux.

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“Méliès is one of my personal heroes, and being able to pay tribute to him in such a visible way is both a rare opportunity and a huge privilege,” said director Fx Goby. “There’s nothing in the film which hasn’t been considered through the Méliès lens; the shape of the stars, the contents on the table, every object has a story behind it which is linked to him.”

You can watch the 360 video (below) or experience it in VR on mobile, Cardboard or Daydream by downloading the Google Spotlight stories app for iOS or Android. SteamVR-compatible headsets including Oculus Rift and HTC Vive can download the fully rendered experience via Steam, which includes positional tracking.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • It’s a wonderful video… and a great demonstration of why 360 video is a poor means of story telling. I had to rewatch the video almost a dozen times from so many different camera angles to soak it all in, that it totally distracted from core narrative. If the story isn’t interactive, what’s the point of allowing me to control the view? I look left, the action happens to the right, and I’m scrambling for the rewind button. It’s an unnecessary distraction.