James Haves’s review published on Letterboxd:
Satoshi Kon is my favourite director, and this is his most well-known and well-regarded film. On paper, it's perfect. A film explicitly about dreams and the relation between the waking life and the non-waking life.
Don't get me wrong, this movie is good. The visuals are incredible and the surreality is at full force and it works beautifully.
Thing is, you can't just have surreality on its own, and I feel a lot of Paprika is just about Satoshi Kon, not about the characters. Its only purpose is to give Kon an outlet for doing the weirdest shit he can think of. That's a good purpose to have, but compared to other Kon movies and his TV show, it pales in comparison.
The characters are broadly drawn just in themselves, but the absolute worst thing about the film is its villain. He's needless, pointless, and completely uninteresting. Seriously, what was the point of him? He doesn't add anything! His only purpose is to give the film an action climax! Hell, he doesn't even do that as it had a great climax already!
Paprika isn't bad, and I enjoyed it while I was watching it. Once it finished it thought it was amazing, but after only about half an hour of thinking did I realise the story was completely insubstantial.