Saturday, December 22, 2007

PAPRIKA (Satoshi Kon, 2006, Japan) Have you ever met the girl of your dreams? A device called the DC Mini allows the user to enter another’s dream and help them cope with their fears, anxieties, and phobias. But a rogue has stolen the device in order to protect our dream world from the interference of science and is using it to join his fantasy with our reality. As perceptions and experiences overlap, only one woman can save the Universe from total destruction! I’m not a fan of the anime genre but I do love the Miyazaki films and I consider PAPRIKA to be of the same caliber in not only the hand-drawn animation but in the complex adult storytelling. It’s refreshing that the Japanese consider animation an art form where they can stretch the boundaries of story and characterization with complex adult themes: be warned, this is not a “kiddie” cartoon! I’m reminded of the novel THREE STIGMATA OF PALMER ELDRITCH by Phil K Dick as shared fantasies merge and collide until we can not distinguish between the two. Now if only Disney would stop churning out their animated drivel. (B+)
BLADE RUNNER: THE FINAL CUT (Ridley Scott, 1982/2006, USA) Is this the definitive cut of one of the greatest science fiction films of all time? I hope so because it’s the best, not only in image and sound quality but also in content. Gone is the needless and annoying voice-over and happy ending from the Original Cut (which I saw in theatres on first release). The additions are minor and the run time isn’t greatly affected but what I noticed was the ambient street sounds that finally made the future Los Angeles seem vibrant and alive; these sounds were drowned out by narration and not added for the Director’s Cut. It truly adds a new dimension to the film! DO yourself a favor and just by this 5 disc set because the extras and Workprint Version make this the Hi-Def DVD of the year! IMHO: Deckard isn’t a Replicant because who would make an Android that was physically and emotionally weaker than the ones he needed to destroy? (A+)

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