10 July 2007


I herald the Apple TV for having a trailer for Paprika. The movie, not the spice...although paprika on deviled eggs is pretty tasty...

Wiki slap on Paprika (2006) . (Warning: Spoilers on Wiki).

At first I thought that the 13 year gap it took to make the movie out of the novel was a long time, but it pales to the likes of Metropolis which was made out of its 1949 manga counterpart. No matter, despite the long waits, both of these movies were exceptional. While I'll have to wait until later to talk about Metropolis, I saw Paprika last night and have to talk about it.

Paprika introduces us to a world not far in the future where an apparatus called the "DC Mini" is created by a genius who wishes for people to be able to share their dreams with friends. The DC Mini is being used to help in psychological therapy by viewing and analyzing dreams of patients. Unfortunately, the DC Mini turns out to be a more dangerous piece of technology than anyone imagined, capable of functions that, exploited by the wrong people, can be devastating as well as maddening. In the movie you get to explore the true last, vast frontier for humans: the dream-world. We see the characters struggle with their own pasts, confront themselves to be able to make it through the wilderness that is the human mind.

While Paprika was surely no Spirited Away, it deserves a serious watch and commendation. The animation is brilliant, weaving between dream and reality- sometimes lurching from one to the other purposely, leaving you with a feeling of psychological whiplash. For the most part the plot was excellently accomplished, closing with an ending reminiscent of the Neon Genesis Evangelion movie.

Maybe it deserves a second watch, but the characters could have been stronger; the most developed was the genius Tokita. Though the character association between Chiba and Paprika was interesting, for its importance it was relatively downplayed, anti-climactic and largely unexplained. I am no newcomer to unexplained plot in anime, however, the Chiba-Paprika relationship was one that I was disappointed to find unexplored. The plot arc with the cop Konakawa held my interest through the entire movie, but with all that was going on with the half dozen major characters in the plot, many of the characters didn't get the depth that they were entitled. Perhaps a visit to the manga is in order. I have a feeling it suffers from the same syndrome that Harry Potter movie 4 and LOTR suffered from.. wonderful but LONG story that some pieces simply must be cut out of to fit the entire thing into one film.

Also: please leave out love stories if they are going to seem like last minute throw-ins!

Susumu Hirasawa rocks the soundtrack. He also did the music for Paranoia Agent.

All in all, Paprika is a wonderful movie experience that we here in America are largely unable to experience through Hollywood. I made the comment in the first minutes of Paprika that "This seems like a movie that American cinema would try but utterly fail at...", and it was. Go watch it!

Plotline: Excellent
Characters: Good
Music: Very Good
Animation: Excellent

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Blogger parrots said...

Ha, yeah, your comment about this being a movie that Hollywood would try to make but fail is very accurate. It was a very interesting story, although I was slightly annoyed at some of the unexplained parts (but nothing new there, it's anime). Once you get used to the jumping between dreams and reality and just take it all in the movie was lots of fun.

Welcome back to the reviewing :)

8:00 AM  

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