We all are blessed with power of imagination, we all crave something unique, something powerful, we all crave of what cannot be achieved, we all want to touch what cannot be touch, we want to build something that has never been built, we all want to become immortal through our work, because that is who we are that is what makes us human. Imagination is a powerful tool that can change the world, bend reality, it can make us look really stupid or smart beyond imagination. Imagination is, however, a double-edged sword, It can be both bad or good, it can be organized or disorganized, it can win hearts for good of the world or for devastation, Imagination also has the power of illusion and trickery.
You want me to summarize paprika in one or two sentences? Take your dog, get some colors and a big paper, let that dog run along, let him dip himself in those colors and let him do whatever he wants with that paper, Done? good, now take that paper and try to sell it on street, did it sell? No? well paint yourself and make a name for yourself and then go to a gallery and display that painting your dog made, you will soon be acknowledged as the one greatest artist ever lived. That is in the nutshell is Paprika.
Why do directors exist? do they exist to enhance the story? or do they exist to show how good they are at directing? Should a director show off his skills while simultaneously trashing the story? Without a story, directors cannot exist and without director’s story can not be accessible. Directors job is to make the story his own and through his skill and hard work make it more effective and better. Just like music is useless without stealing listeners heart, just like an animation is useless without telling a story through animation, just like that, a director is useless without making story good and accessible. look at Erased, It is a bad story without actually any suspense, but good music, animation, and most importantly good direction make it better than the raw story. Director can make a bad story good with sheer skill. A director is a conductor of the orchestra, no matter how good instrumentalist are if conductor sucks then performance is going to suck.
Paprika is a mess of animation, it is a mess of music and it is a mess of characters. Paprika creates the illusion of complexity for the normal viewer who knows nothing of how illusions work, “movie feels complex so it must be good, It makes me feel smart if I like this complex movie” people with this kind of ideology may hop over it if they want to this post is not for them. There is a subtle difference between complex and complicated, complex things make sense and are enjoyable but complicated things are complicated for sake of being complicated they make no sense. Why in the end Paprika could swallow villain? why do the world of dreaming and real world merge? who the hell is Paprika anyway? Is she part of that scientist’s lady or a program? Why villain has so pitiful dream? It doesn’t make any sense. Well if someone says it shouldn’t make sense, that is the point, well then why to watch this movie, go to sleep and dream, I am sure you can have some wacky dreams, or just don’t clean you room for few month for you to not able to make sense of your room, can you live like that?
On one hand, the movie tries to be a sci-fi, on the other hand, it tries to a philosophical movie questioning that “should human interfere in nature?”. Paprika also tries to touch phycological aspect of human life but later to all boils down to an all powerful and purely evil villain trying to the destroyed world. Paprika changes subjects faster than politicians change their statements, it just makes it a horrible mess. All respect I had about Satoshi Kon has gone down the drain, I think Satoshi Kon just want to flash his skill without regards to consistency or story. Making a scene transition every few seconds doesn’t make you a good director, making a story shine like a sun will make you a good director. Most of the time simplicity is better than complexity and complexity is always better than complicated. See ya.