DVD review – The Lost Thing (2010), Region 4, Madman

The Lost ThingAustralian 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

© Thomas Caldwell, 2010

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  1. Agreed, but felt Minchin’s narration was off the mark. I understand the need for a little disassociation or the narration being somewhat emotionally disengaged to complement the central ideas, but this was monotonous and really detracted from the amazing and moving animation for me.

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