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DVD: The Lost Thing

Fifteen minutes. That’s how long this movie is. In that short time it manages to wrap you in the gorgeous world that it creates, far more so than many of the feature length movies I’ve seen in my time.

Depending on how you choose to interpret it, The Lost Thing could be a bleak tale of how the oppressive machine of modern life crushes the sense of wonder out of people, causing them to lose sight of anything unusual or outside of their accepted definition of the norm. Or, it could be a sweet story of a boy who discovers a lost creature and sets about finding out where it truly belongs.

Whatever your take, there’s no denying that this short has been lovingly crafted with an outstanding attention to detail. Every element of this computer generated world denies its heritage: Someone has hand crafted these elements, every character, every prop, every vehicle and building, every sign post, every piece of material, not some soulless computer! The desire to reach into the screen and touch the world is almost overwhelming. And yet it detracts in no way from the story.

As a kid there were stories – be they in book, or movie form – that would stick with me long after I’d finished reading, or watching them. Some still rattle around in my head to this day. In many ways, these are the stories that formed my perception of the world around me. The Lost Thing has that same magic about it. While it’s probably too late for anything short of severe head trauma to alter my perception of the world, I can’t help but think that this is the sort of film (or book) that any parent should feel good about showing their child. Sure, show it to them… then keep it for yourself.

You’d be right in thinking that buying a whole DVD just for a 15 minute movie is a bit of overkill, but just like the short itself the release has been packed with extras to sweeten the deal. I’m going to skip over the extra content on the DVD itself – which consists of some fantastic technical sequences, interviews and commentaries – and get right to the most brilliant extra of all: A book.

Titled “What Miscellaneous Abnormality is That?” the book is a beautifully illustrated ‘field guide’ to the strange creatures that feature in the story The Lost Thing. If there’s any remaining doubt about the amount of passion that has been put into making this film, it should surely be quashed by the 50 odd pages of unique illustrations by the story’s creator Shaun Tan.

I really hope that we see more from Tan and the team of animators behind this wonderful little movie, if only because I want to spend more time visiting the gorgeous world they’ve created for this short. [source]

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    I am so excited to hear about this film (G says “Oh yeah, i know all about it…it was all over Aussiecon IV”. I say “YOU were at A-IV..i was at HOME with the KIDS!”). We have all of Shaun’s books and they are all glorious masterpieces that warrant hours of close inspection. And yes, i’ve read them to the kids and yes, i then put them safely back on our library shelf. I get to big note myself too and say i’ve met Shaun and he’s a lovely man. Thanks you for reviewing this…a certain someone was obviously never planning to mention it to me. I shall seek it out.