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Paprika (R)
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From director Satoshi Kon, maestro of the mindscrew, comes a movie that's just like Inception, except it's an anime. And it came out like four years earlier. And to be fair, lots of things have dealt with the concept of going into other people's dreams or whatever. And also, unlike Inception, this movie is a little bit hard to follow at times. Aaaaand... it's gotta a totally different plot. Oh yeah, I should probably mention it's based on a book I've never read.

Anyway, so... there's this cop named Konakawa, who is apparently being treated for a disturbing dream he's been having. Or something. The treatment involves the use of a DC Mini, which lets someone enter his dream. Or something. And the person who's treating him is this young woman named Paprika. But we'll later learn that Paprika is actually the dream avatar of a scientist named Atsuko Chiba. Funny thing is, Chiba and Paprika talk about each other like they're different people.

Meanwhile, I guess three DC Minis have been stolen. I'll be honest, I never quite managed to understand precisely how all this technology works, nor why it matters that three of the things were stolen. Well, maybe I understand. Okay, I do. I guess. Sort of. But it's weird, okay? Um... anyway, Chiba/Paprika needs to figure out what happened to the missing tech. And she's sort of helped by this morbidly obese guy named Dr. Tokita, a man-child who actually invented the DC Mini technology, and an old guy named Dr. Shima (who everyone usually just calls "chief"), and a guy named Dr. Osanai. Apparently Chiba is the head of the DC project or whatever, but it was kind of hard for me to follow what exactly everyone's position was. Also there's a guy called the Chairman (which is a bit of a pun, since he's not only the boss of everyone, but also he's in a wheelchair). Anyway, at first it seems the tech has been stolen by Dr. Tokita's assistant, Himuro. Though we never really see him, in reality, and of course you can't really trust anything you see in dreams.... (But there are actually three culprits, hence the three stolen Minis, right? I just never figured out how or even if Himuro was actually connected to the other two.)

So, that's the basic setup. It's hard to really explain any more than that. Chiba and her associates, along with Konakawa, have to try to... stop whoever stole the prototypes... from doing whatever they intend to do. But everyone's dreams start merging, and it's one of those deals where you're never quite sure whether the characters are awake or asleep. And all kinds of crazy things happen. And eventually dreams start merging with reality, for a reason which I absolutely do not understand and cannot accept makes any sense at all. It just sort of happens, okay?

So, yeah, it's a really crazy movie, but it was interesting and funny and scary and there was gorgeous animation and some really good music and um... damn, Chiba was beautiful. You know, in that hot scientist kinda way. And plot twists? Yeah, it's got those. But, you know... something as mundane as plot twists just kind of blends in with the overall madness and incomprehensibility of all the other shit going on. And along the way, Konakawa's own psychological issues somehow get resolved. So there's that. And I guess the world gets saved? So there's that, too. And I guess that's all I can think to say. But it was definitely fun.

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