Monday, November 9, 2009

Jasper Morello: Steam Punk Animation

The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello is a visionary piece of animation that came out of Australia around 2006 and just recently came on my radar, thanks to fellow blogger Shane Mangus.

The story is of a young airship navigator named Jasper from a country known as Gothia, grounded after an error of one degree in his calculations causing the death of another man. This one degree is the focus of Jasper's existence. He is given a second chance on a voyage to set up wireless communication buoys, leaving behind a young wife and a city ravaged by plague. Upon the journey the ship collides with a derelict during a storm with the remains of her crew and the only clue being an uncharted island on the ships maps. Jasper and company investigates the island discovering a terrible race of beasts whose blood actually holds the cure for the plague. From there the tale grows truly dark and compelling.

The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello Directed by Anthony Lucas with a screenplay by Mark Shirrefs, is animation done in a shadow or rather silhouette style, which fit the story brilliantly and added a compelling element in of itself. The steam punk element was well rendered with the clockwork airships and modes of transportation. The shadow animation allowed the world and the machinery to be brought to the fore with greater complexity and detail.

The story is compelling, becoming increasingly darker; the score for the animation is perfect accompaniment. The voices used for the charcters fit them creating another level of emmersion for the viewer, with Jasper voiced by Joel Edgerton.

I really enjoyed this short movie for all the aspects brought together in one place. The only issue I could possibly have with The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello is the fact that it is only on DVD in Australia and New Zealand, which means the layering would not play in American DVD players. So one has to watch it here:
Also check out the web site for more interesting tidbits about Jasper's world.


1 comment:

  1. I think there is a lot of stuff out there that is tagged "steampunk" but it really isn't. Oh, it may have a few elements of the genre, but adding steam-tech to a story or a game does not make it steampunk. The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello to me is one of the best examples of steampunk to date. (BTW, thanks for the mention, and I am glad you enjoyed it!)