10 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Lots of heat, little spice,
This review is from: Paprika [DVD]  (DVD)
I bought this dvd having not seen any of Satoshi Kon's previous work, nor being much involved in the world of anime (aside form the obligatory studio ghibli). I bought it on the back of the reviews saying it was largely confusing and explosive, jerking you about when you didn't expect or want it to, and on it's visual majesty. One of these is true, the other is more of a misnomer.
Whilst the film is clearly expansive, creative, decently original and vibrant; with the parade an obvious highlight, there is little else here to merit a purchase. Much of the early portion of the film is taken up with an explanation of the 'dream machine,' though pleasingly framed by an actual experience of it. Maybe had the film had more of the action actually taking place in a more... eccentric and hyperactive manner, synonymous with dreams, it would have been more of a success. Instead most of it is fairly standard, with the occasional outburst of intriguing moment.
The characters fit their roles quite easily, though it's difficult to care for any other characters than the cop and the fat guy, and them mostly out of sympathy. Kon has clearly tried to fill out the background of these characters, but they seem to mesh poorly together, and most of the major characters (chief, ok chan, etc) are simply left without a background. What has driven these characters to where they are? Clearly the chunky genius could be a clever cult creation, as he seems to have interesting aspects, but we don't see them, and they simply aren't developed enough to intrigue. With another final strange personality intricacy being the difference between paprika and her 'real' form, since they are so utterly devoid of each other.
Then again it's not bad, it's much creative, and flows fairly easily, it isn't anywhere near scattergun enough to confuse, and flows fairly rigidly. Those who lose the fairly simple string of the plot probably need to look at themselves more than the film, since each slight 'wait where did, what just happened' moment is quickly explained. It's also a very sweet film, having the natural charm of cartoon, and being given a certain leeway for sentimentality thanks to this.
Overall then, it's hardly a seminal piece of theatre, but it's not rubbish. I'd just question whether you'd really need to own it...