Paprika (パプリカ, Papurika): a machine that lets others participate in your dreams has been stolen and hijacked; Paprika is the best shot at getting it back. It’s interesting that in Hollywood, any form of animation is almost exclusively reserved for kid’s films, whereas in Japan you get this: a fearless sci-fi film that explores technology, mythology, reality, iconography, dreams, reality and the psyche. As mind-meltingly complex as it gets, the film always remains interesting, engaging and entertaining – probably down to the super-stylized mix of animation techniques – the blu-ray is extremely vibrant. With a mix of luscious visuals and an abundance of ‘thinking’ material, you have the luxury of being able to tune out of the story and still be dazzled. However, both elements combine to create a screen-bursting, visual and mental extravaganza. “This is your brain on Anime” – great marketing line.
District 9: part-documentary about life in South Africa 20 years after aliens first landed on earth. This is an unbelievably fresh take on the alien/sci-fi movie and when you pair the idea with such outstanding graphics, the film looks and feels a thousand times more real and believable than the clichéd outer-space bloodbath. Despite his radical transformation, the acting – pretty much one guy – is very good, and remains believable. It’s quite messy, but the blood, gore and black comedy makes this feel more like Braindead / Bad Taste – ‘specially the alien guns! The last 30 minutes are crammed with cheesy blockbuster action, which feels wrong here and is a bit of a let down: I also hate how humans can use complex, alien machinery without training! South African’s will no doubt pick up the racism and poverty undertones, although they’re not in your face (unless you’re Nigerian or a Nigerian Scammer). It’s a well-made and very fresh idea, that passes far to quickly but falls short in the last quarter. Leaves you hungry for prawns. Second viewing in a year, still great.
Ryan: Chris Landreth’s short (14 minutes) on Ryan Larkin: a ground-breaking Canadian animator. Most of this GCI other than the original Larkin drawings that captured the movement of human bodies (Walking and Street Musique). The surroundings are good and the characters are impressive & very original. It’s a great short film, that tells an emotional story in a light-hearted but effective way.
Kung Fu Panda / Bee Movie: Only watched these films because Sky are having an animation season at the moment and the visuals are usually nothing short of stunning. Despite being from the same studio, and only a year apart Kung Fu Panda is a far superior film in every sense: story, characters, voice acting, gags, audio mix, and entertainment factor. KungFu Panda also looks a thousand times better, you just get the feeling that the team paid more attention to detail; definitely the best-looking animation I’ve seen with vibrant colours and rich textures. Don’t get me wrong, Bee Movie’s not the worst film in the world, but it’s definitely aimed more at the kids than the whole family.
Kung Fu Panda: 8/10
Bee Movie: 5/10