March 11, 2010
I had previously watched Satoshi Kon’s Paprika twice in subtitles, but I ran into a copy of the DVD, so I decided to watch the dub, and the extras. In short this is a great movie, the dub was enjoyable, and the extras are a nice addition, especially if you enjoy seeing how anime gets made.
If you have seen some of director Satoshi Kon’s earlier work (such as the highly recommended Millennium Actress), you are familiar with his exhilarating style of film making. Kon deftly blends fiction and reality, frequently giving the viewer a feeling as if the film were a speeding car that had just topped a hill and is now dropping away beneath them, while their body’s momentum is simultaneously pulling them skyward.
Unlike Millennium Actress, which sought ambiguity between realty, film, and memory, Paprika explores the border between our waking world and the subconscious territory that we explore when we dream. As such Paprika cedes some of the high ground of Art House film. Whereas Millennium Actress easily fits in the tradition of Frederico Fellini’s Roma, and 8 1/2, Paprika can more easily be pegged as a work of Science Fiction. For some this might make Paprika a more approachable work.
The DVD included several extras. Although I am frequently disappointed by DVD extras, I found some of these enjoyable. In particular three making-of type shorts were included that examined aspects of the creative process that resulted in Paprika. Of these I was most impressed by the behind the scenes look at Kon’s process. The other extras included, such as an interview with Kon, novelist Yasutaka Tsutsui, and two of the voice actors was less interesting to me, but I rarely enjoy such features.
As mentioned by Tsutsui in the extras, the music is very good, and adds quite a bit of impact to several scenes. As with all of Kon’s work, Paprika is visually stunning. The characters are interesting in that they are presented both as generic character types, and as believable, human, and therefore surprising characters.
In summation, this was a great film, and I can easily recommend it, especially to people who enjoy Science Fiction. The movie stood up to a third viewing with no problems, and the dub was solid, which is important for some people, especially those outside of the core anime-viewing community. There was some mature content. In particular there is one very disturbing rape scene, but it was far from gratuitous, and was not played for titillation.
If you haven’t seen it yet, Paprika is worth your time and money. If you saw Paprika in the theater, or fan subbed, the DVD is worth the expense, as the movie stands up to repeat viewing, and the DVD is packaged with some interesting extras.