Paprika ★★★★

The 20 Best Japanese Animated Movies of the 21st Century-Taste of Cinema Entry #5 & Top 10 Sci-Fi Anime Films-OMNI Reboot Entry #4

Dreams are a hard thing to nail down in any medium due to their surrealistic nature. Numerous films with dreams as their main focus have tried pin them down with mixed results:

*The A Nightmare on Elm Street Franchise has been using dreams to induce terror and laughter in its viewers for a long time, but on a very superficial level (not that that's a bad thing mind you).

*I have a feeling The Cell was trying be "Paprika" six years before it premiered, but epically dropped the ball even though its dream sequences were creative to say the least.

*Inception is probably the most "mainstream" dream focused film out there. I have to admit Christopher Nolan introduced some really cool ideas about exactly how dreams work and some of this lives up to its potential (Joseph Gordon-Levitt's rotating/zero gravity hallway fight scenes come to mind). But ultimately the viewers are left with a film that mainly uses its dream premise for neat action scenes and colorful backdrops. This film is a valiant try that I sadly have to award a silver star.

*Waking Life is a very solid film dream film due its nonsensical nature and colorful visuals with some philosophy on the side.

But out of all of these examples, I think "Paprika" is one of the best portrayal(s) of dreams/dreaming/dreamscapes I've ever seen in film. This film has beautiful lush animation, interesting characters, and a compelling plot on top of its superb depiction of dreaming/dreamscapes. Regardless of whether you're a fan of anime or not, I would encourage many a casual viewer to watch this film.

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