The Mysterious Geographic Exploration of Jasper Morello

DVD | Australia | 2005 | 26 minutes | English with subtitle

Set in an imaginary place and time where rickety, steam-powered ships float in the sky (a 19th century sci-fi?), The Mysterious Geographic Exploration of Jasper Morello is a short animation with a quirky mix of CG animation and silhouettes reminiscent of shadow puppets and Lotte Reiniger’s works. The multi-layered textures applied to the animation — rusty cogs, wheels, dead insects, feathers, etc. — make this a real visual candy.

Story-wise it is perhaps a bit cliche and not too remarkable (and yes well, so is The Adventures of Prince Achmed), but there’s something in the slightly morbid, altruistic, Heart of Darkness feel to it (Lucas is a fan of Conrad). Compared to some other high-tech animations, e.g. Tekkon Kinkreet, or Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, definitely a much better, more worthwhile treat. I must admit to not being too fond of flawless, smooth CG animations though, so this might reflect more of my visual preferences and romantic hangups.

The DVD contains the making of, interesting interview with Lucas as well as his other short other (interesting and wacky) animations.

Official site:

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Founding director, c2o library & collabtive. Currently also working in Singapore as a Research Associate at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS). Opinions are hers, and do not represent/reflect her employer(s), institution(s), or anyone else with whom she may be remotely affiliated.

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