Blu-ray Review: Lu over the Wall | Under the Radar - Music Magazine

Lu over the Wall

Studio: GKIDS / Shout! Factory

Feb 04, 2019 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Teenage Kai is a gifted young producer, composing beats under an alias and uploading them to be enjoyed by online music fans around the world. He’s also sullen and painfully introverted; that is, until he’s outed by a pair of classmates and asked to join their fledgling rock band. He begrudgingly takes them up on their offer to practice on a deserted island a short boat’s ride from their fishing town that, legend has it, is supposedly populated with dangerous merfolk.

As soon as they begin playing, a mysterious voice joins in from the distance. They soon meet Lu, a childlike mermaid whose flippers turn to feet whenever music can be heard. She becomes their close friend and new lead singer, but when a live performance clip goes viral it brings both celebrity (and danger) to the innocent mermaid girl.

Masaaki Yuasa’s Lu over the Wall is animated in a variety of styles, switching to striking new looks to designate when a story’s being told, or a memory is being relayed to the audience. Visually, there’s a lot to love, and musically it’s quite catching. The story has a lot going on, but it never seems to settle on a theme, instead peppering in numerous messages about being true to yourself or kind to others. It’s a movie that seems unsure whether it’s meant to appeal to little kids (with the toddler-like, hypercute Lu in the spotlight) or young adults, spending so much of its time on brooding teens and their insecurities about their feelings, desires, and social media presence. It’s a movie that is viable for either age group, but not necessarily one we see either latching onto. Even the musical aspect, the movie’s most interesting, winds up playing a relatively minor role in the latter half of the film.

Lu over the Wall is still fun despite these issues, and certainly an audio-visual treat, but fails to approach anywhere near the magic of Studio Ghibli’s very similar Ponyo.  Bonus features on the Blu-ray include an audio commentary, director interview, and multiple trailers.



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