Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Film Review: Paprika (2006)

Paprika (Review)
Japan/2006
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...captures the magic dreams are made of..." 

Using a device called the "DC Mini", psychologists are able to conduct dream therapy, where they can view people's dreams. Dr. Atsuko, using her alter ego, Paprika, illegally uses this device to help psychiatric patients; as Paprika, Atsuko can travel the dream world. When three DC Mini prototypes are stolen, Atsuko and friends team up to find who's responsible before irreparable damage occurs...

The mystery continues into the dream world where the dreams of several seem to be merging, and the original suspect may be a victim after all. And so, Paprika continues to face threats in the dream world that can hurt her in the real world. The story continues with a few interesting twists, and a world-merging concept. In fact, the third act of the film really amps up the story and starts to bring its concept to life. The ending is superb, filled with brilliant designs and edge-of-your-sear action; and, it even makes you think a bit.

Paprika is a SciFi action film. The dream world sequences are very creative and mesmerizing; it's a real touch of ingenuity. The real world features plenty of dilemmas, but the SciFi isn't fully fleshed out. The concept is always interesting, but it doesn't become fully utilized until the final act; something always felt like it was missing, like a viable threat. The action is superb, especially towards the end. There are many humorous scenes, and that comedy blends well with the film. Ultimately, the story is great; it's not perfect, but it's close.

The Japanese voice cast is superb. Every emotion is captured perfectly, and the dialogue is delivered fluently; for example, moments of excitement feels genuinely exciting. The animation is great, the colors are vivid and the movements are smooth; the designs are creative and unique, really capturing a dream vibe, and even capturing some nightmarish creatures. The music is also very unique, and it fits the film perfectly; the soundtrack is very creative, and the sound editing is also well-fitted for the SciFi themes of the film. Satoshi Kon is fantastic as director and writer, really pulling everything he can from the cast and story.

Overall, Paprika is a great SciFi action film. The concept is interesting, the story is entertaining, the animation is creative and unique, and the music is superb. Although not without its faults, Paprika captures the magic that dreams are made of; well, some of our dreams, at least. Like Satoshi Kon's previous effort, Tokyo Godfathers, I strongly recommend Paprika for fans of the genre.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and nudity.

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