St. Stephen’s Episcopal School
Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann illustrate the saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” in their film, “The Lost Thing.” When a boy realizes the bizarre, ignored creature he found at the beach is lost, he sets out to find a place for it. This thought-provoking animated short creatively develops characters and uses dialogue, sound and animation to portray moods.
“The Lost Thing” is told like a storybook, narrated by the boy. The characters speak only when there is dialogue in the “story,” making it feel as though it’s being read aloud. In addition, the soundtrack enhances moods. When the boy first finds the Thing, cheerful, playful tunes accompany the light-hearted scene. Later, when affairs start looking more dismal, melancholy strains reflect the less-than-hopeful feelings of the disheartened boy.
Animation also is used for inflection. While the surroundings are drab and dirty, the Things are colored brightly, emphasizing that they are the highlight of this world. Things act shy, scurrying after their temporary caretakers, appearing lost and forlorn. Use of light and dark enhances atmospheres. The pitch-black interior and lack of windows at the Federal Department of Odds and Ends suggests the building is not a kind-hearted place. In contrast, places where the Things are content are bright, colorful and open.
The boy in the story looks up at his world, while the others are buried in their own lives. He collects bottle caps, which indicates that he cares for what most consider trash. The massive size of the Thing accentuates how self-absorbed the people are; they don’t even notice it, but the boy does.
“The Lost Thing” is a touching animation, intriguing until the very end of its 15 minutes. With its unique narration, creative and meaningful animation, enhancing soundtrack and choice character development, “The Lost Thing” deserves four stars!
One reason people lose things is because they don’t think or care about the things and take them for granted. Every time someone forgets about something, memories start to fade until they’re gone completely. The short film, “The Lost Thing,” by Andrew Ruhemann and Shaun Tan, shows what happens when the most important things in your life are lost or forgotten.
One day, a teen combs the beach for boring bottle caps to add to his boring bottle-cap collection. The setting is monotonous and desolate. While hunting, he spots something unusual. It is an enormous red Thing that turns out to be harmless and fun to play with. The fact that no one notices it is normal. People in this world are lifeless and depressed because everything is homogenous. All the Thing needs is to be noticed.
The teen takes the Thing home to show his parents but knows he can’t keep it. While he is watching TV, a community-service announcement says “anything of unknown origins” could be brought to the Federal Department of Odds and Ends. After he goes there, he is given massive amounts of paperwork to complete. Then, a stranger approaches the teen and tells him that if he really cares about the Thing, he should not leave it there. This was a place for forgotten things. The stranger gives the teen a mysterious card that leads them to a place that is full of life, light and happiness.
This movie’s target audience is everyone, because anyone can understand the messages. One of the messages is not to get so wrapped up in your life that you don’t notice what’s in front of you. I love this film and think it is worth seeing, because it is very visual and full of contrasts between dull, boring cities and bright, upbeat environments.
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