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Movie Review: Paprika (2006)
Co-written and directed by renowned director Satoshi Kon, Paprika is a Japanese science-fiction animated film based on the 1993 novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui. The film is about a psychiatrist who uses a device called the "DC mini" in order to enter her patient's dreams. Is is the fourth and final feature of Kon before his untimely death in 2010.
In an alternate future, Doctor Kōsaku Tokita (Tōru Furuya) has created a device for psychotherapist called the "DC mini." These devices used to enter into someone else's dreams. Doctor Atsuko Chiba (Megumi Hayashibara) with the help of her alter-ego "Paprika", uses the machine to help people outside of her profession. The practice is not sanctioned and is extremely dangerous. The machine's technology is incomplete and allows anyone who gets ahold of it unlimited access to the person's dream. After a series of unfortunate events reality and dreams merge leaving chaos for the streets of Japan and the people involved.
For someone who doesn't know anything about this film, the closest comparison I can make of this movie is the Hollywood blockbuster Inception. Both are have eerily similar narratives and deal with professionals that enter other people's dreams. However, with this being anime, everything is "turned up a notch." While watching, I found myself attracted to the movie's many special effects and animation. The floor warping underneath people feet, Paprika as she transforms and alters reality to her will. Unlike Inception, not everything is laid out for you and future viewings may be needed in order to understand the story fully.
Are you a fan of trippy and colorful animated films? Good dialogue and existential themes? There is a deeper meaning beyond the playful aspects of the film that discusses the meanings behind a person's dream. Paprika covers these concepts while still having fun with its narrative. To put it plainly, the movie is an adventure on acid. Little will make sense, but you will awe at the effects, colorful scenes, and superb animation only made possible by being inside of a dream world. Paprika has a lot of control in these worlds and therefore you can expect the unexpected. This film is sure to blow your mind and hopefully leave you wanting more.
Paprika is available on DVD, Blu-Ray, and available streaming platforms.