Lu Over the Wall
Sweet boy meets mermaid love story with an environmental message
Reserved teenager Kai spends his time composing music. As he practises one evening, mermaid Lu appears in the water near his home, drawn by the ebb and flow of his looping samples. Soon, they kindle a friendship that will eventually charm Kai out of his shell.
The adorable, amorphous Lu can command the power of the ocean. Her father bears a toothy resemblance to Totoro. Kai’s mother is palpably absent. The film’s theme is, in part, environmental. If you’ve seen Ponyo, or any other Ghibli creation, you’ll struggle to resist tallying up similarities. So it’s probably best to judge Lu on its differences.
There is both sweetness and originality here; Lu sprouts legs when she hears music. She turns all the town’s abandoned dogs into ‘merdoggies’ so they can have a new life frolicking in the sea. An imaginative animation style flows in freeform between distinct textures. It’s a shame that the plot feels bloated and unresolved, even at almost two hours. Lu will never substitute the beauty or nuance of Miyazaki, but it may just tide you over if you’re suffering from withdrawal.
Released by National Amusements http://luoverthewallmovie.co.uk/