The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello
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This is a 2005 Academy Award-nominated animated short film.

Jasper Morello is a short feature made in a unique style of silhouette animation developed by director Anthony Lucas and inspired by the work of authors Edgar Alan Poe and Jules Verne.

In the frontier city of Carpathia, Jasper Morello discovers that his former adversary Doctor Claude Belgon has returned from the grave. When Claude reveals that he knows the location of the ancient city of Alto Mea where the secrets of life have been discovered, Jasper cannot resist the temptation to bring his own dead wife Amelia back. But they are captured by Armand Forgette, leader of the radical Horizontalist anti-technology movement, who is determined to reanimate his terrorist father Vasco.

As lightning energises the arcane machineries of life in the floating castle of Alto Mea, Jasper must choose between having his beloved restored or seeing the government of Gothia destroyed. Set in a world of iron dirigibles and steam powered computers, this gothic horror mystery tells the story of Jasper Morello, a disgraced aerial navigator who flees his Plague-ridden home on a desperate voyage to redeem himself.


One degree is not a large distance.
On a compass it is scarcely
the thickness of a finger nail.
But in certain conditions... degree can be a very large distance.
Enough to unmake a man.
Jasper, a letter!
It had been three months since my last voyage-
-and i'd begun to believe
that I'll never fly again.
Thus when my embarkation order arrived
from the Authority-
-I felt like a condemned man-
reprieved from the gallows.
I hoped that Captain Criswald had seen
fit to pardon me as well.
Get off my ship!
I see the Authority has given me little choice.
But I'm not tolerate another mistake, do ye ken?
Yes sir!
Some assistence, gentlemen?
Its' an honour to have you with us, sir.
Though I had not been informed that-
-we were carrying a passanger.
I was delighted to see-
-it was Dr. Claude Belgon -
- controversial biologist from the Academy.
Get away!
The sickness!
He is infected!
Come away, child!
Coils and oils, Mr. Kemp?
Charged and hot, sir!
Mr. Kemp, airscrew to one hundred revolutions.
One hundred, sir.
Morello, we are in your hands.
Is there a difficulty, sir?
Mr. Morello?
No, Captain.
Ready to lift.
Pressure steady.
Lines away.
Up ship.
As the airship lifted so did my heart.
But my joy at leaving was tampered
by the knowledge that Amelia was not.
Get them inside, there are others coming.
Yes, Matron.
Administer sulphur,
saline drip and to Ward 12.
Yes, what is it?
Surgery's clear.
Our city was ravaged by a sickness
of appalling virulence.
In my absence I prayed
that my darling would stay safe.
Through the horizontal and
the vertical we draw faith.
Their bodies shall become ash and they will
become the air itself until once more...
August 10th.
A new traderoute has opened up
with the Republic of Lawrencia-
-allowing supply ships to reach
our beleaguered realm.
Our task was to lay beacons
to enable wireless communication.
The Doctor's task was to study us.
That man.
As airmen rarely contracted the sickness-
-he had convinced the Academy
to fund a study in the belief-
-that some quality of elevation
might lead to a cure.
Yes, Doctor.
His critics thought it unlikely.
So did the crew.
The ant has a marvellous society.
Though the Doctor was more than a decade
my senior, we got on famously.
The formicidae are remarkable.
Each can lift ten times its own weight.
Perhaps we should fashion our diet after theirs.
Many pleasant hours were spent
in hypothesis and postulation.
Get back to yer chart!
Aye, sir!
You're a patient man, Morello.
I could not bear that oaf hounding me.
He was Captain on my last voyage.
I made an error...
Starboard 2 degrees.
Are you certain, Mr. Morello?
No! Starboard 3 degrees.
...but it was enough to kill a man.
As with the ant, every man has a purpose.
He must serve that purpose,
no matter the cost.
When this voyage is over,
we will never again be parted.
Then we can begin our family.
Fly safely home, my handsome navigator.
They can carry themselves into the future
through their ability to procreate.
But a man can only do so through his work!
We, men of science, should stick together.
August 12th.
A violent tempest came upon us.
Increase buoyancy.
Steam and iron were useless
in the face of nature's onslaught.
For 14 hours we ran before the wind-
-far from the trade route.
Triple revolutions.
Burn the bearings if ya have to.
Position, Mr. Morello.
Momentarily, sir.
Ship ahead!
Starboard turn, full reverse!
- Kemp, the Lumen!
- Lumen, sir!
The envelope's ruptured!
We're sinking!
Abandon ship, abandon ship!
In one fell stroke,
the resolution was destroyed-
-and with it, my career.
Ahoy the Hieronymous.
Ahoy the Hieronymous!
I'll teach these damned fishermen
to run without lights.
Get off ya cots, ya laggards!
What the blazes?!
Attacked by pirates is my guess.
Genus Lepidoptera...?
Surely not...
Inside the refrigeration chamber-
-the fetour struck me like a blow.
But apart from putrefying piscine carcasses-
-the place was empty.
Did ya think ya find something fishy here, sir...?
My God!
We cannot ignore what has occurred,
I must insist!
We have a duty to science to discover
exactly what happened!
Science be damned!
I'm taking her back!
Mr. Morello?
They were fishing in uncharted air.
Perhaps they caught something unexpected.
The Academy would compensate us
generously for a new species.
Do ya not understand?!
I've lost my ship!
I'm ruined!
The laws of salvage will give you this ship.
If you take me to the island,
I'll make sure-
-the Academy doubles your fee.
I'll remind ye - we have nae compass.
But we have a navigator.
Do we not, Mr. Morello?
August 13th.
Without a compass,
I set our course by dead reckoning.
Our new direction would take us
deep into unknown air.
Out of transmitter range and-
-any possibility of rescue.
A week longer, my darling,
no more, I'm certain.
Take what time you need.
Your welcome will be all the warmer.
A cold, nothing more.
She has the sickness.
Please Captain, take me back!
She is beyond your help, lad.
Take me back!
Careful, man!
Kemp, stay level.
Resume heading.
No, souls of the dead, that is.
That evening LeBrun came down
with the sickness.
To my great relief-
-the Captain announced
he was turning for home.
The Academy will issue an ongoing contract.
Then purse overcame compassion...
Kemp, resume heading.
...I began to believe that-
-the next time I saw Amelia
would be in the hereafter.
Course, Mr. Morello?
Maintain course and speed.
Are you certain?
3 metres.
Starboard 2 metres.
Port 2... port 1!
Zero clearance!
Ah ye’ve killed us all this time!
Steer two-five-five degrees.
Well done, navigator.
Yes, yes, a triumph.
Captain, will you give the order to land?
Take heart, lad.
You'll soon be with your wife.
I'll stand watch.
Kovacs? Let's see what victuals
this mudheap has to offer.
The volcano, my boy!
Heat is a great begetter of life.
As we foraged-
-the air rang with a sound like
none I had ever heard.
It drew me with such power that I wondered-
-if we had stumbled upon the abode
of the fabled sirens.
It seemed impossible that such an unremarkable
thing could create such euphony.
Heeelp me!
Are ye injured, lad?
A dead specimen is useless to the Academy!
One of these did for the men on the Hieronymous.
I'll not give another the same opportunity.
Though dead, the monstrosity did not go to waste.
No one was skilled in the culinary arts-
-so the flesh was charred on the
outside and bloody inside.
LeBrun was too weak to eat
so I made him a broth.
There was nothing more anyone could do.
A miracle!
No, you fool.
The creature is the cure!
We must obtain a specimen.
I told ya before.
You'll not bring a monster on board!
I won't have to.
Claude insisted that we secure six cocoons-
-in order to begin a breeding colony
for production of the cure.
Like heroes of myth, we snatched our prize.
Then took to the air-
-flying home to free our land
from the microbial invader.
Come out, little one.
There's my beauty.
For God's sake man!
Cast it overboard!
Then what remedy will you bring to your wife?
I tried to feed them,
but they would take nothing I offered.
Then a slip with my knife provides the answer.
Morello! Morello!
Do you wish to see a miracle?
Extraordinary, is it not?
The Captain must know.
The Academy will send me back to the island.
I will insist-
-that you command the voyage.
The crew will panic.
They'll kill it.
If the creature died, so did Amelia.
I could not allow that to pass.
August 23rd.
Kovacs caught a porkfish.
The crew saw this delicacy
as an excuse to celebrate.
Kovacs, King of the Porkfishers!
Claude joined in-
-though I had never before seen him take a drink.
That night everyone staggered back to their bunks-
-to fall into a drunken sleep.
Next morning, Kovacs was gone.
He is not here.
When the search proved fruitless-
-the Captain concluded
that Kovacs had fallen overboard.
Two days later, LeBrun was gone.
I could no longer ignore my feeling that-
-Claude was somehow reponsible.
A fascinating creature, is she not?
It would have been a crime to let her die
for lack of sustenance.
Where are the others?
Awaiting her need.
For pity's sake, Claude, don't do this.
Every man has his purpose.
Yours is to get us home.
Your wife is waiting.
Had Claude been the devil himself?
He could not have devised
a more feindish torment.
My darling.
You'll burn in hell, Belgon.
No, no!
Is our voyage nearly ended, my friend?
If I'm right, the trade routes lie just beyond
the ice, the beacons will guide us home.
I've become rather fond of you, Morello.
I'll miss our conversations.
Be of good cheer, however.
One degree had changed my life.
It might do so again.
Help me!
Please, Jasper, please!
I beg you!
I can't!
Do you wish to have more deaths
on your conscience?
If you are reading this-
-you know that the creature is
a treasure beyond price.
Much blood has been spilt to acquire it.
I pray that mine will be the last.
With our temperatures lowered, it is my hope that my
blood will sustain the creature until rescue arrives.
if I do not survive, my darling Amelia-
-know that my last thoughts are of you.
Live and do not grieve-
-for I will be with the great company of souls-
-riding the borealis to eternity.
Perhaps they will require a navigator.