Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Anthony Lucas "The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello"

The plot for Australian director Anthony Lucas' The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello is a complicated one. In the best geographic traditions of Jules Verne and Edgar Alan Poe, Jasper undergoes a voyage of discovery, complicated by the fact that his wife is left in a plague infested city and he feels guilty at his involvement in a death on an earlier voyage. Accompanied by larger than life characters such as Captain Grimwald and the mysterious Dr Belgon, Jasper discovers a creature that could save mankind from the plague counterpoised by the deadly threat it poses for the race. Joel Edgerton the narrator gives a carefully annunciated delivery to match the stylised visual qualities of a film entirely shot in silhouette, with a much reduced colour palette, as represented in the screenshots. Nominated for Academy Award for Animated Short Film in 2006 the movie lingers in the imagination. It has introduced me to the term steampunk, an interesting science fiction/fantasy genre in which a kind of Victorian world is perpetuated where steam reigns supreme and does remarkable things such as power gigantic floating dirigibles, airships made of iron. The city too is an imaginative construction of flying girders, like suspended Eiffel Towers, the skies festooned with spectacular flying machines. The old fashioned adventure element to the voyage is refreshing. Spectacle is created using a mix of technologies, including advanced CGI as well as cut outs and 3d models, under the supervision of visual effects director, David Tait. Written by Mark Shirrefs it has an ending that reminds me of Joseph Conrad where Jasper sees the darkness in the soul of man. The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello has been placed on YouTube by the Monster Distributes in preparation for the second of an intended trilogy. The suitably apt Gothia Gazette provides background details and the opportunity to purchase the DVD of a fabulous movie that was unlucky not to gain the Oscar.

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