by Alan Rapp on June 29, 2007

in Movie Reviews 

I’m not a big anime fan, but the idea behind this film of a machine that could invade your dreams brought the sci-fi geek ready and willing to give this film a a shot.  Paprika isn’t a great film, but it is an entertaining one with terrific animation, a strong story, and some intriguing ideas about dreams and reality.  For fans of the genre should be pleased, and it might even satisfy a few others, who like me, aren’t big fans of anime but are just looking for new and interesting stories told in a compelling way.

3 & 1/2 Stars

“This is your brain on anime.”

Scientists have created a new experimental dream machine which allows therapists to enter a person’s dreams in an attempt to help them with their problems from inside their own mind.  When several of the machines are stolen, however, everyone who has ever used the machine becomes susceptible to its influence, whether asleep or awake, and the walls between reality and dreams break down.

Attempting to retreive the device and stop the criminal are a beautiful scientist (Megumi Hayashibara) who lives as ‘Paprika” a sort of guide and savior for those trying to understand and overcome their fears and doubts in their dreams, and a cop (Akio Otsuka) who is haunted by dreams of a recent case.

The film is a more straightforward mystery than many anime films, which is probably why I enjoyed more than most.  In the final act however as the walls between reality and dreams breakdown it marches proudly into crazywackofuntown as the higher ideas and discussions of the film are lost in unleashed chaos.

The ideas of invading one’s dreams and then having the ability to inflict others with the fevered dreams and nightmaes of strangers is a terrific hook for the film.  A dream machine might be a wonderful thing, but, as shown here, in the hands of the wrong person it could a terrible weapon.  The film succeeds as a sci-fi film and as mystery, and although I got a little bored when the story started to drag as the craziness took over in the final third of the film, it comes together in a satisfactory ending.  It is not a must-see, but for fans of something different and more thought-provoking than the usual summer fare you might want to invite Paprika into your dreams.

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