This review will be criticaly analysing animated movie "Paprika" directed by Satoshio Kon. This movie is extreemely thrilling and it is more about experiencing it rather then just trying to understand the plot. This review is based on Rob Nelson's, Mick LaSalle's and Chad Webb's idias from their reviews.
"Paprika" is intriguing, hyper active, sci-fi fantasy adventure anime which absolutely stands out from every other anime that you ever seen before. Rob Nelson says: "Kon's company isn't called Madhouse Studio for nothing. Crazy from its first image of a spotlit circus clown straining to squeeze himself out of a miniature car, Paprika, like the best work of Kon's compatriots Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell) and Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away), is a movie in which, minute to minute, basically anything can happen; the narrative is almost completely unbound." (Tuesday, May 15 2007). Rob talks a lot how crazy this movie is, but not in a bad way. Crazy stylization and illusions are not used as a cheat, everything is intentional and it works very well. It has not only some 3d elements, but even few barely noticeable shots with simple photography in the background. It blends in so perfectly, so that you just can't feel the difference.
This movie is also very moody. Mick LaSalle, Chronicle Movie Critic says: "It's not a film for children, and it's not even something children would like. It's challenging and disturbing and uncanny in the ways it captures the nature of dreams -- their odd logic, mutability and capacity to hint at deepest terrors." (Friday, June 8, 2007). Mick talks about tripping, unseen, sometimes fun and sometimes very uncanny dream scenes that almost reminds the effect of DMT in Gaspar Noé's movie "Enter the Void" (2009) therefore even though it is not as disturbing because of that and explicited nudity it is obviously not appropriate for children.
A lot people might be confused while watching this and not understand anything what is happening in the plot, but understanding plot is not essential here. Chad Webb says: "For those who do not pay attention, the storyline could appear puzzling, but at 90 minutes, one should have no trouble just sitting back and staring in amazement at this vibrant pageant of giant appliances, geisha dolls, and abandoned carnival attractions. This is a surreal universe that is impossible to calculate or foresee" (06.13.2007). In other words audience just have to relax and enjoy incredible imagery going on in the screen influenced by bunch of completely irrelevant things from renaissance paintings to Disney's "Fantasia". You can feel this amazing fluidity in the scene where main character Paprika jumps into a Gustave Moreau's painting, turns into sphinx and flies between different dimensions.
All in all it is amazing peace of work and a great example of the animation in Japanese culture. It is absolutely increadible technical achievement and a peace of art at the same time. Even those people who are very sceptical about the whole Anime genre should definitely check it out.
1) Rob Nelson (Tuesday, May 15 2007): http://www.villagevoice.com/2007-05-15/film/kon-s-cure-for-cinema/
2) Mick LaSalle (Friday, June 8, 2007): http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/06/08/DDG1DQAB2T1.DTL
3) Chad Webb (06.13.2007): http://www.411mania.com/movies/film_reviews/55644/Paprika-Review.htm
1) Photography used in the background http://www.makigumo.com/reviews.php?id=16
2) Tripping blending faces http://thecinematheque.tumblr.com/post/5967701405/with-narrative-and-visual-leaps-director-satoshi
3) Oedipus and Sphinx http://celestialkitsune.wordpress.com/2009/03/23/oedipus-and-sphinx-paintings-in-paprika-anime/