Thursday, 22 January 2015

Film Review: Paprika

Satoshi Kon was a Japanese film animator and screen director. He is most renowned for his previous works like Tokyo Godfathers and Millennium Actress which were fairly successful in the anime genre at their individual times of release. As a Japanese animator Kon's style reflects the Japanese visual culture with very up tempo scenes and a refined style of anime but in his last few works including Paprika incorporated what seems to be 3d animation to his work in the more complex scenes. In Paprika, dreams and the subconscious is a consistent theme aesthetically expressed through the surreal style Kon used to animate. The morphing and transforming of objects was animated very successfully and worked well for visual spectacle. Also repeating and looping of scenes really helped in depicting this idea of dreams and reality interweaving. The film stars all-Japanese cast of singer and radio personality Megumi Hayashibara, actor and narrator Katsunosuke Hori, Toru Furuya and Toru Emori. Hayashibara voiced Jessie from team rocket in Pokemon and also Ash's Bulbasaur, Pidgeotto and Goldeen.

The film follows a team of psychotherapists in the near future who invented a device allowing one to view and even enter someone else's dream. When people begin to become delusional and witness some of the patients subconsciouses whilst wide awake, they turn to one of their team members subconscious alter-egos for help. Paprika who comes across as the main protagonist is a quirky and eccentric and fun character yet always seems to save the day flawlessly whereas Dr Atsuko Chiba who is the conscious alter-ego of Paprika is the complete opposite, cold, seemingly emotionless and not much fun at all. The film comes across as Atsuko's journey of the discovery of her true self and the similarities her and Paprika really have.

Similarly to the Christopher Nolan film inception I feel Paprika is an attempt to explore the complexities of the human mind, highlight the fact that dreams are one of life's only things that we all  as humans experience but can never completely share and to visually demonstrate what would happen if we could share these experiences. In this context the film succeeded however I felt watching the film that what Kon accomplished visually he lacked in dialogue and character interaction. The dialogue was too direct and not creative enough in explaining things. But overall I really enjoyed this film and would recommend it. Although I found the soundtrack abit annoying it suited the scenes it was in. And the storyline was not a simplistic linear one you would expect from an animation so it did well.

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