Lum - Beautiful Dreamer, the review of the film by Mamoru Oshii for the first time on blu-ray

Lum - Beautiful Dreamer, the review of the film by Mamoru Oshii for the first time on blu-ray
Anime Factory offers, for the first time ever, Lum - Beautiful Dreamer in blu-ray. A more than tempting opportunity to add to your collection a cult film which, originally released in 1984, opened the wonderful year of Japanese animation along with other films such as the highly celebrated Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind by Hayao Miyazaki for Studio Ghibli.

Lum - Beautiful Dreamer is the second movie inspired by the animated series luck. It is in all respects a cult because the screenplay, also based on an original subject by sensei Rumiko Takahashi, was developed by Mamoru Oshii who sat down for the second time behind the camera. The director was granted greater freedom, an aspect that, as we will see, will be fundamental for the response, at the time extremely poor, of the public and which forced him to abandon the production of projects linked to the franchise while sensei Takahashi herself was forced to label almost the story of the film is spurious.

The plot

The story of Lum - Beautiful Dreamer is partly inspired by the 42nd episode of the animated series. The Tomobiki Lyceum and its students are in turmoil due to the inauguration of the student festival that will take place the next day. Everyone is extremely busy, so much so that, to complete the sets, many of them, including Lum and Ataru, are sleeping in the school. However, the first to notice that something is wrong are Onsen Mark and Doctor Sakura. There is something wrong with the climate and the passage of time and in fact they soon realize that not only that school is the only inhabited place in the neighborhood but also that they have ended up in a real loop that forces them to repeat always the same day!

When even the students, Lum and Ataru included, realize the situation everything falls apart: the suspended dimension in which they were living becomes a post-apocalyptic nightmare in which the Earth is a wasteland and only they survive .

In this apocalypse, however, it is not so bad. Water and electricity arrive regularly at Ataru's house, even the newspaper, and the convenience store on the corner is always stocked. Ataru and his friends eat and have fun in what seems like an endless summer.

But soon the idyll starts to break down. In fact, mysterious disappearances begin in the group: why?

The most suspicious are Doctor Sakura and Shutaro Mendo who, investigating, understand that there are forces in action far beyond human understanding. It is really a dream dimension that everyone is living in and in which an evil genius is subverting the wishes, expressed or hidden, of Ataru and Lum. To return to normal, all survivors will be asked to take a journey into their dreams or their dreams, discovering that perhaps reality, with its imperfections, is better than any idyll.

Lum - Beautiful Dreamer , a film outside the canons

Lum - Beautiful Dreamer is a cult film because it subverts in an evident and almost brutal way the canons that made the anime, based on the series conceived by Rumiko Takahashi, one of the first transversal commercial successes in Japan. At the time of the release of this second film, in fact, the characters of Lum were so popular that they were used for any type of advertising campaign for products aimed at teenagers.

This success was given by the very formula of the series that united science fiction ideas to situations from school and sentimental comedy up to touching moments ecchi and harem. Lum - Beautiful Dreamer begins exactly following these canons only to then move away from them in a clear and alienating way. In fact, halfway through the film, the plot becomes complex, breaking down the spectator's reference points in a merciless way and starting a slow and inexorable twist on itself which is then masterfully resolved with the use of a "evil genius" as the deus ex-machina of the story whose role, however, is equal to that of the two protagonists, Lum and Ataru, and to their consciences.

It was a risky choice not only from the directorial point of view but also from that of the screenplay by Mamoru Oshii . These choices, initially, did not give the hoped-for results, as described above. That of the sensei seems at times a "first person" narrative or rather from within the events. The choice to use the stratagem of the repetition of the previous days and the loneliness of the group of friends then seems more a meta-textual choice, almost a criticism of the commercial success of the series, which, precisely on the repetition of the narrative formula, had built its fortune .

Mamoru Oshii and his avant-garde

The narrative choice of Mamoru Oshii anticipates some of the themes that will then be at the center of his subsequent works, one above all the relationship between the individual and reality. In Lum - Beautiful Dreamer the beginning of the third act of the film coincides with the revelation by Ataru first and Lum then that they are aware of the fact that they are in a dreamlike reality, in a world built according to their desires, however then distorted. In this, Oshii anticipates for example the central core of his masterpiece Ghost in the Shell by marrying one of the leading reflections of the cyber-punk genre.

There is not only an anticipation of some "mature" themes in Lum - Beautiful Dreamer but also a different directorial work than the previous film and obviously the anime series. Specifically, Oshii provides the reader with clues on the nature of the events already in the first sequences thanks to a decidedly different use of camera movements first and then of the shots.

As long as the canons of the series are respected, the direction he prefers horizontal movements of the machine but as the plot begins to unravel the movements begin to be more and more horizontal. Then open the viewer's field of view to show that there is something, indeed something else beyond the initial festive and noisy appearances.

Similar speech for the shots. Fixed and narrow on the protagonists before, they become more and more distorted in terms of perspective and lengthy as we proceed up to a kaleidoscopic use of superimpositions when the dream reality unfolds in all its drama.

The Home Video edition

The audio and video quality

The audio / video rendering of the Blu-ray of Lum - Beautiful Dreamer is the best obtainable both from the image and sound point of view .

1080p HD encoding (16: 9 or 1.78: 1 at 23.976fps) allows you to enjoy a sharp and compact image. The image has an excellent contrast and the transfer of the original negative is of excellent quality: this is demonstrated by the fact that there are no grains in the colors and the secondary details, including the backgrounds, are always well in focus and clearly visible. The remastering of the original negative also allows you to rediscover the excellent technical work done at the time, especially from the point of view of the animations that are now even more fluid.

As for the audio, the sore point concerns the quality of the tracks which stop, for both Italian and Japanese, at a simple DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. However, not all evils come to harm: the mix is ​​in fact very well balanced and although very centered and compact it has a decent yield which, obviously, cannot be enveloping like a Dolby but is in fact equally effective. It should be noted that, during viewing, it is not necessary to adjust the volume for all audio tracks (including the one with the director's commentary).

Side note regarding audio. The track in the original language has subtitles faithful to the dialogues, while the track in Italian is the one with dubbing made in the 90s for the release on VHS. It is therefore a “historical” dubbing characterized by a heavy adaptation.

Special contents

From the point of view of special contents, the blu-ray edition of Lum - Beautiful Dreamer she is definitely stingy. In addition to the original trailer and the Italian one, in fact, the only extra content is represented by the track with audio commentary by director Mamoru Oshii, very interesting if you are a fan of sensei, an animation enthusiast or simply want to have a direct testimony of the first processing and the feedback that he had the film then.

Anime Factory makes a cardboard slip case with a standard amaray inside with a cover depicting the naked poster of the film on one side and the Tomobiki high school on the other. There is no booklet but two collectible cards: the first with the characters of the series and the second always with the naked poster of the film.


Lum - Beautiful Dreamer is truly a cult from many points of view. Regardless of whether or not you are a fan of Lum, if you are a lover of the most refined animation of the 80s, this film cannot be missing in your collection, also net of a well-packaged edition with a decidedly good and satisfying audio / video performance. br>

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