Paprika ★★★★

“It’s not what’s on the outside that counts, but there’s a limit to that too..” 

You know, I feel like the events of this movie could have been avoided if someone had figured out that you could probably find a different way to refer to the guy in the wheelchair than as the “Chairman.” 

I got immediate Inception vibes from this movie, and considering how it only came out a few years after Paprika, I wouldn’t be suprised if that’s not a coincidence. For me, Paprika captured the logic and fractured structure of dreams better than Inception. It also demonstrated how dreams can quickly turn from a fun time to a really bad acid trip at the drop of a hat. I’m really impressed with how this movie manages to make even the supposedly cutesy bits unsettling too. Like the massive parade that features prominently throughout the film’s dream sequences. Despite it basically being a stampede of toys, for whatever reason it creeped me the hell out. Maybe I had PTSD from watching Perfect Blue, but I always felt something sinister under the surface, which I’m sure was Kon’s intention. 

The real highlight of this movie are the characters. The titular Paprika is adorable, capable, and just delightful whenever she is on-screen. Her counterpart, Atsuka, is comparatively reserved, fiery, but with a hidden sentimental core. Toshika comes across as a lovable oaf, and I do like that the movie doesn’t hyper-focus on his weight as a punchline. It does come up, but the movie emphasizes that his immaturity and childish nature are his real failings. I could go on, but I feel like it’s enough to say that every character in the movie brought something positive, even the pervy cuckold guy. 

If there is one issue I have with the movie, it’s that it sort of balloons out from a reasonable premise into something a bit batshit. Which, I’m fine with batshit stuff, I was just more interested when the stakes were lower and more personal. By the time it reached the point where our antagonist turned into a world-eating titan, I was a little tuned out. This movie basically followed the development of your average anime show in like 90 minutes. All that said, though, i thoroughly enjoyed this movie and found it delightful to watch.

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