Australian author and illustrator Shaun Tan makes his directorial debut (along with co-director Andrew Ruhemann) with this animated short adapted from Tan’s acclaimed picture book. Narrated by musician/comedian Tim Minchin, The Lost Thing is about a boy who discovers a creature on the beach that nobody else seems to notice. Encased in a giant mechanical dome with tentacles sprouting from the various hatches, the creature is like a steam-punk version of a benevolent sea monster.
The Lost Thing has a beautiful melancholic charm that evokes the work of writer Neil Gaiman and filmmaker Tim Burton. Tan has previously worked as a conceptual artist on computer animated films Horton Hears a Who! and WALL·E, and his experience creating unique and immersive landscapes is evident in The Lost Thing. It is a sad and bureaucratic world, not too distant from Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, where a population lost in their daily routine don’t notice the presence of an extraordinary creature that needs looking after.
The DVD includes deleted scenes, a documentary on Tan and production information making it essential viewing for animation fans.
Originally appeared in The Big Issue, No. 368, 2010