After a rather disappointing outing to watch the Korean sex comedy “Who Slept With Her” last week, I tried to make amend and choose a better movie this time for the Movie Review Squad – the Japanese anime “Paprika”. Turns out that three of us have different opinions on these two movies. TK actually enjoyed the B-list movie “Who Slept With Her” with the expectation of a mindless laugher. I was mildly entertained by it while Cynthia found the jokes crude. In short, “Who Slept With Her” is definitely the male’s version of a chick movie (a dude movie?!). As for “Paprika”, I thoroughly enjoyed watching that and it has exceeded TK’s expectation (I suspect it was not that high to start with) while Cynthia found the story confusing.
I like “Paprika” a lot because the story is interestingly original and the artwork is beautiful. In some scenes, I was actually paying attention to all the background objects marveled at the amount of details on the screen rather than the main attractions. Color contrast plays a part to make some of the scenes dramatically beautiful. Although the characters are in 2-dimension, the way the postures are presented as well as the small movements look real enough. And these 2D characters are often set in backgrounds that are rendered with realistic 3D shading. Because the storyline of “Paprika” intertwines the reality with the dream world, the contortion of the surfaces, the morphing of characters and objects, and the flashbacks of scenarios – making it perhaps one of the most artistic Japanese anime I have seen.
What is the story of “Paprika” about? Without giving too much spoilers (you know I won’t!), a device that enables therapists to enter patients’ dreams has been fallen into the wrong hands. Now, people are losing their minds doing things against their will. It is up to the young and beautiful doctor Atsuko Chiba and her team together with her alt-ego that exists in the dream world “Paprika” to save the world. The story has its tense moments, moments of violence, and brief moments of (artistic) nudity. I guess that is why “Paprika” is rated NC-16 in Singapore.
I can understand why Cynthia finds the story confusing. Quite a number of times, the dialogues happen faster than the rate we can digest the subtitles. Perhaps the animation itself is too captivating. I at time find it hard to fully follow the plot. Some of the translation can be hard to gasp at first read. Maybe the concepts are foreign to non-Japanese or maybe the plot can be so unexpected at times. Either way, there is lots of speed reading to do while watching “Paprika”, at least to me.
I can also understand why Cynthia find “Who Slept with her” too crude to her liking. I did not know that it is a B-list movie (TK?! Why didn’t you …) and the last Korea sex comedy I watched with TK (as gently reminded by the man himself) was “The Art of Seduction”. Now, that was a good one. Funny and tastefully done. “Who Slept with her” starts with a Vice Principal suspects that a trainee teacher is having sex with someone inside the school library at night and the story then rewinds to the point when that trainee teacher just joined the school. The three usual suspects are a handsome student, a wrinkled face student (acted by an old man obviously) who has an enormous “tool”, and a student with nothing but sex in mind. The trainee teacher (played by “Kim Sa-rang) is really hot though – Miss Korea back in year 2000. Still I wish that she plays a much larger role other than merely some men’s object of desire. However, if you are in for a mindless laughter, “Who Slept with her” may be your cup of tea.
I don’t think it is a matter of watching either one of the show or both. There are quite a number of good movies are now showing. If you enjoy watching Japanese anime, you really should check out “Paprika”.