It’s been a good year for Satoshi Kon fans in the UK – not only did we get to see Perfect Blue on the big screen, but Paprika is now also available on blu-ray/DVD. That’s good news if you’re stuck for last minute Christmas present ideas, or just haven’t had a chance to see Paprika yet.
When a device that allows therapists to enter their patients’ dreams is stolen, a mysterious young therapist named Paprika is enlisted to track down the thief and prevent them from causing chaos. Thus begins a distinctly eye-popping, trippy and bizarre film – the style that Satoshi Kon is so well known for.
Originally released in 2006 in Japan, Paprika was quite ahead of its time in terms of how it looks at technology’s growing influence on people’s lives and the whole ‘dream within a dream’ concept. You’ll be forgiven for thinking that Christopher Nolan’s Inception copied or at least took inspiration from Paprika – both films have a dream device and share very similar scenes, such as the ‘warping red corridor’ and literal shattering of dreams. However, it seems that Nolan never claimed to be influenced by Satoshi Kon.
I don’t want to turn this review into a ‘Paprika versus Inception‘ thought piece because that’s already been done. Besides, however original you may think an idea is, the chances are you’ll always find something else that at least reminds you of it. (This is also one of the joys of writing – you think you’ve got an original idea then find it’s already been made into a TV show) One big difference between Paprika and Inception is that Paprika is much more bizarre, non-linear and sees dreams and reality merging together to create utter chaos.
Paprika is a must-watch if you’re a fan of animated cinema in general. It really pushes the boundaries in terms of what has been done before and what you thought was even possible. Some of the dreams are uncomfortable to watch and there’s seemingly no rhyme or reason to some of them, which makes for some very entertaining scenes. It’s not exactly a laugh a minute but it’s definitely a feast for the eyes.