HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Harpoon
Great Northfield Minnesota Raid, The
Dark Phoenix
No Mercy
Arctic
Fate of Lee Khan, The
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Ladyworld
Rocketman
Kid Who Would Be King, The
Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound
America America
Darkest Minds, The
Along Came Jones
Hummingbird Project, The
Under the Table You Must Go
Harry Birrell Presents Films of Love and War
Hanging Tree, The
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare
Itsy Bitsy
Witchmaker, The
Prey, The
If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
Happy Death Day 2U
Full Moon High
Strange But True
Kamikaze 1989
Never Grow Old
Time of Your Life, The
Mountain Men, The
Epic
Best Before Death
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
Isabelle
Non-Stop New York
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood
Oblomov
Alita: Battle Angel
We the Animals
   
 
Newest Articles
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
   
 
  Lu Over the Wall If mermaids exist then anything is possibleBuy this film here.
Year: 2017
Director: Masaaki Yuasa
Stars: Kanon Tani, Shota Shimota, Akira Emoto, Minako Kotobuki, Shinichi Shinohara, Shizuka Ito, Soma Saito
Genre: Musical, Comedy, Animated, Fantasy, Adventure
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: Kai (voiced by Shota Shimota), an introverted teen who left Tokyo to live with his divorced dad in the ailing fishing town of Hinashi, is mortified when school friends Yuho (Minako Kotobuki) and Kunio (Soma Saito) recognize his musical noodlings in a video posted online. They invite him to join their band. Lacking confidence in his own talent and mindful his father (Shinichi Shinohara) would rather he focused on those all-important high school exams, Kai is not especially keen. Yet as the band rehearse at an abandoned amusement park called Mermaid Island, their raucous feel-good rock inadvertently summons Lu (Kanon Tani), a sprightly little mermaid who starts to dance and sing with infectious glee. Inspired by their magical encounter, Kai recruits Lu as their new lead singer. Together their music has a galvanizing effect upon the citizens of Hinashi. However, as the band grow increasingly popular, Kai discovers the town has a troubling history with mermaids.

Masaaki Yuasa is among the most vital creative talents working in Japanese animation today. In the years since his astonishing debut with the near-indescribable Mind Game (2004), Yuasa has consistently forged an idiosyncratic path, steering a medium at risk of growing stale into deliriously inventive, headily philosophical waters. Following a special guest directing gig on cult American children's show Adventure Time, Yuasa returned to the big screen with Lu Over the Wall: his most commercial yet conversely, and hearteningly, personal venture yet. Taking a step forward from the breakneck surrealism that characterized much of Yuasa's early work the film exhibits a much clearer focus on narrative and character development. Scenes of domestic strife between Kai, his father (who as drawn seems barely older than he is) and suspicious, embittered grandfather (Akira Emoto) unfold in near-static, almost Yasujiro Ozu-like fashion. Yet whenever the band starts to play Yuasa's kaliedoscopic imagination takes flight.

The visuals pulsate and metamorphose, mixing formats and switching styles in a manner reflecting that indefinable exuberant feeling instilled only by the best, most joyous bubblegum pop. Mirrored in the glorious water-manipulation powers and frankly hilarious dance moves of the impish, smiley-faced Lu who bears a passing resemblance to Ponyo (2008), titular heroine of Hayao Miyazaki's not wholly dissimilar mermaid anime. Except Yuasa fashions Lu into a character beguilingly kawaii and goofy, but also otherworldly in a way that is just that little bit unnerving. After all Ponyo never sprouted enormous razor fangs to vampire bite puppies turning them into adorable mer-dogs. Taking a slice-of-life approach to the paranormal reminiscent of vintage Studio Ghibli, characters react to the strangest events in amusingly matter-of-fact manner, be that discarded fish bones marching back to life or the memorable arrival of a giant shark man in a business suit visiting the local tourist board.

Energized by the DIV spirit of its young protagonists' garage rock, the film unfolds as an allegory about the perils of instant fame, compromising artistic integrity and how fear sometimes drives ordinary decent folk to do appalling things. A plot twist steers the story in a darker direction reminding us that mermaids traditionally have a more sinister image in Japan than in the west. As reflected in the gory live-action nightmares of Mermaid in a Manhole (1991) and Rumiko Takahashi's anime Mermaid's Forest (1991) or J-pop star turned filmmaker Tatsuya Ishii's solemnly sensual Acri (1996). Yet Yuasa also includes unexpected nods to E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and Roman Holiday (1953) and ultimately fashions the film into a love story of how creativity in all its forms can inspire people to overcome hardship and prejudice. Though posters focus on Kai and Lu, the film is truly ensemble piece filled with flawed but likable characters learning to outgrow their failings and band together. After all, as one character remarks: "If mermaids exist, anything is possible."

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 162 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: