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22 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Excellent short animation feature

9/10
Author: Baldrick44 from Brisbane, Australia
29 November 2005

This is an immensely enjoyable film, with hints of Tim Burton's early animation work. The plot revolves around Jasper Morello, a navigator who has gained a reprieve after a past mistake and his explorations into unknown territory which lead to a twisted discovery, which while may prove to be his town's salvation, may come at the cost of his own soul.

A word of warning. This is not a children's animation film. The neo-Gothic animation as well as the minimal amount of colour except to emphasize blood ( reminding me of Sin City ) gave the film an effect that may scare young children.

The themes of the greater good and personal over objective feelings come through very well through the film and the ending is actually extremely well-handled under the circumstances. My only gripe, and it really isn't a gripe, is that this could have been lengthened into a longer film. However besides this small criticism there is nothing to complain about. The cast is great, with Edgerton fantastic as the beleaguered navigator Morello and the music is very good. I only wish that this movie got the publicity of Harvey Crumpet, because it certainly deserves it.

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23 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

A magnificent film

10/10
Author: Link0007 from New Zealand
20 July 2005

The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello is absolutely amazing, and deserves a huge audience.

The film is set in a world that resembles Victorian England, but different, in that giant mechanical airships are the main mode of transport. Jasper Morello is a navigator who undertakes a dangerous expedition into uncharted territory in order to escape from his plague-addled city. The film has a Jules Verne-like sense of wonder and imagination that is irresistibly appealing.

The distinctive look of 'Jasper Morello' deserves the many accolades which will definitely follow in due course. The characters are rendered in layers of silhouettes, a look which must be seen to be fully appreciated. The design of the airships and of the world in which they float in is masterful.

The combination of Victorian-era story and cutting-edge animation makes for an extremely enjoyable film, one that should be seen by both children and adults.

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15 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

What animation shorts are invented for

9/10
Author: kerecsen
22 January 2006

This flick has just the perfect blend of experimental ideas, an interesting story and meticulous animation work. The creators opted to use a 3D-flattened-to-silhouette animation technique, which is quite unique and hard to describe. Suffice to say that it works well to emphasize the mood of the story. Oh, and it also looks absolutely stunning...

Jasper Morello is a navigator on an airship, who gets a chance to help save his wife, as well as humanity from a plague, by venturing to unknown territory. His Verne-like trip takes him to strange lands and strange creatures...

I don't want to give too much away, so I'll just say that you should go check it out (or at least the trailer at www.jaspermorello.com).

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13 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Beautiful Animation Sets Off A Marvelously Macabre Story

10/10
Author: noralee from Queens, NY
2 March 2006

"The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello" is a wonderful cross between the animation of Hayao Miyazaki and the science fiction of Jules Verne.

Beautiful animation sets off the stark, futuristic, macabre story by Mark Shirrefs that has historic resonance from the Black Plague to AIDS to "On the Beach," and recalling tales of mad scientists from "Frankenstein" to "The Island of Dr. Moreau" to the cloning scandal in today's South Korea yet creates a completely original and very suspenseful film.

Not only is a whole other worldly environment and civilization created, but the silhouetted people (with their all too human foibles) and their complicated vehicles travel through breathtakingly beautiful weather and dangers. This is a very fresh take on the human role in nature vs. technology in the guise of an old tale of obsession as if told by Herman Melville or Edgar Allen Poe.

Joel Edgerton's gentlemanly journal narration as the titular navigator marvelously captures the Victorian formality of the storytelling, like an Australian Sherlock Holmes or Robinson Crusoe.

This film was viewed as part of a commercial screening of Oscar nominated shorts.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Phantasmagorical

9/10
Author: Frank Frankson from Australia
10 March 2006

This is a wonderfully made film. Stunning effects, fantastic in nature but still believable stories and characters. This definitely should have won the academy award it was nominated for. Weird, wonderful and just a little bit creepy, this is a very funky film.

And to Alan Jacobs, you do not know what films are supposed to be. If you can't see what a good movie this is then you don't deserve to watch films at all. It's as if you'e seen a horror movie then complained that it was bad because it scared you.

Would you rather see the same old Hollywood drivel over and over or would you rather see quality, original and affecting film-making? Obviously for you it's the former. Have a nice day :).

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A dark steampunk fantasy

Author: Tura23 from United States
28 December 2006

As short horror films go, this is one of the best I've seen in recent years. The story is genuinely chilling and the cut-out animation style is a perfect fit for old-fashioned narrative. Capturing the creepy essence of classic writers like Blackwood, Lovecraft, and Poe, this film is a mini-masterpiece and well worth tracking down. Fans of animation may notice a slight stylistic resemblance to some of the works of the brilliant Karel Zeman, although Zeman's work was seldom as intense or scary. The only problem I have with the film is that the disk is PAL encoded and won't play on standard North American DVD players.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Fantastic visually and very effective

9/10
Author: sparklez333777 from Australia
20 May 2006

The short film form restricts the storyline of a film, making it very intense and preventing huge amounts of plot detail. To be effective the director Anthony Lucas has to be very creative, and The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello does this remarkably well. The silhouette style creates a perfect Gothic, industrial feel and is very effective in transporting you immediately to a distant but still familiar world of huge lumbering airships, cogs and smoke, and mysterious creatures. It is a fantasy that is also very real; it draws on the 'what-might-have-been' of steampunk, blending the genre's idea of advanced Victorian society with the dark imagery of Lucas' Shadowlands.

The extras on the DVD are also very good - included are other short films by the same director and his commentary about the making of the film (very interesting). Well worth it.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Excellent animation style which suits the story being told very well.

9/10
Author: Robert Reynolds (minniemato@hotmail.com) from Tucson AZ
26 March 2006

This short, which was nominated for an Academy Award, is a form of stop-motion where the figures are primarily shot in silhouette to make them darker and to heighten the overall mood of terror and suspense. The technique is perfectly suited to the story being told, which has so many literary and cinematic influences that its hard to know where to begin.

In addition to the more obvious suspects (Poe, Verne, Wells, et cetera) I would also add Bram Stoker and a sub-genre of Science Fiction/Fantasy called "steampunk", which Lucas himself has cited as an influence. Novels like The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling and Lord Kelvin's Machine by James P. Blaylock (both highly recommended, though not as dark as Morello, if you like the basic idea of a high(er)-tech Victorian England) are excellent examples of "steampunk" and I would be a bit surprised if Lucas hasn't read at least one or both. The feel is certainly there.

One warning: this is NOT a short for children, especially young children. There are at least two scenes unsuited for anyone younger than 12 or 13. This is available on an all-region DVD made in Australia. Most highly recommended.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Outstanding

10/10
Author: Rectangular_businessman from Peru
15 January 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I consider "The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello" to be a fairly impressive short at every single level, which not only has a beautiful animation style but also a rich and fascinating plot.

Visually speaking, The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello" is flawless, having a magnificent atmosphere and stylish designs, with a visual aesthetic heavily influenced by the works of Lotte Reiniger. The result is in my opinion, simply breathtaking.

The story takes cues from the literary works of Jules Verne and Gothic fiction the 18th century, resulting in something quite dark but captivating at the same time, which never fails to the amaze the viewer. It could be sad, even slow at moments, but for me, it never stops being interesting.

From beginning to the end, "The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello" shows a brilliance that hardly could be achieved by other films that use the Steampunk elements in a shallow manner.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Wonderful Gothic animated short film

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
17 February 2007

In a Victorian world of steam driven air ships Jasper Morello is an aerial navigator haunted by a mistake he once made that caused the death of one of his crew. He leaves his home with his wife ill with the fatal plague sweeping the country and joins a mission with Doctor Belgon seeking a possible remedy for the disease but also redemption of his soul. The mission looks like it will be a success but with Belgon maddened with his discovery, Morello must decide if the terrible price is worth paying.

Nominated for an Oscar, this animated short is a great piece of work. The plot has elements of old Jules Verne adventures in the design but it is seeped in a wonderfully dark, Gothic air that runs from the animation through the music into the story and characters. Those not used to short films might moan at how the plot moves quickly and how it is quite superficial. These are fair comment but can be forgiven by the nature of this film, besides the film has much to cover minor issues. The story is engaging and well told with tragic characters complimenting the dark tone. Edgerton makes a great lead character and brings out a lot with his voice. Likewise Bakaitis is strong as the doctor while the support cast fill in the rest of the characters.

The animation makes this film though. Delivered mainly in 2 dimensional shadows, the design is impressive and captures the Gothic atmosphere just right. It is full of imagination and is beautifully dark to watch. Overall then a very strong and enjoyable short film. Gothic, dark and visually impressive with a solid narrative it is just a shame that the nomination did not get the film more exposure and a bigger audience.

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