Back in August 2014, Time Out part of Time Magazine came up with a list of their favorite movies from 100 to 1. And below me is the list of these 100 films selected by the critics, animators and film fans and their critiques.
100. Peter Pan (1953)
Directors: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson and Hamilton Luske
Best quote: ‘But Mother, I don’t want to grow up!’
Defining moment: Peter leads Wendy and her siblings across the London night sky.
Parents, do you know where your children are? Maybe they’re following mischievous spirit Peter Pan past the second star and straight on to Neverland, where kids can be kids to their hearts’ content. The sight of grown men threatening children with cutlasses and even a ticking bomb makes this occasionally uncomfortable viewing today (and its dubious treatment of the crimson-hued Native Americans is hard to forgive). But while definitely from a more innocent age, the comedy still plays: Blustery Captain Hook remains an endearingly fallible bad guy, hotly pursued by an ever-ravenous crocodile, while the vigorous action throughout suggests that the Disney team had one eye on Warner Bros.’ Looney Tunes output. It’s somewhat superficial overall, but still the best adaptation of Barrie’s play, perennially unlucky onscreen. Trevor Johnston
99. Millennium Actress (2001)
Director: Satoshi Kon
Best quote: ‘It’s the key to the most important thing in life.’
Defining moment: When we first realize Chiyoko’s memories and movies are blurred into one.
A fictional reclusive screen legend recalls how she embarked upon a lifelong romantic quest to track down the rebel artist who captured her young girl’s heart. Was she hopelessly deluded, or in the throes of a grand passion many of us will never be fortunate enough to experience? So strong are her memories that her devoted interviewer (and his nonplussed cameraman) find themselves sucked into her past, where personal travails and melodramatic film roles intermingle via ‘Perfect Blue’ auteur Kon’s dizzying narrative transitions.
The sheer single-mindedness of Chiyoko’s journey almost traps the movie in a groove, yet Kon saves the day with some thought-provoking final-reel reveals, by which point the sheer audacity of his fluidly imaginative direction and loving re-creation of Japanese screen history – from samurai swashbucklers to modern sci-fi epics – has long since cast their spell. Trevor Johnston
98. Feherlofia (1981)
Director: Marcell Jankovics
Best quote: ‘Tell your mother to breast-feed you for another seven years, then you’ll be able to pull out the tree single-handed.’
Defining moment: When an animated film starts with a hallucinogenic birthing scene, you know you’re not in Kansas anymore.
Any director who has written 15 books on folklore takes his ancient legends seriously, and in Magyar maestro Marcell Jankovics’s full-on fable, three princes ignore the king’s warning about ‘the lock which must not be opened.’ All hell (literally) breaks loose, and a white mare goddess spawns three human sons – who subsequently take the fight back to the underworld.
An archetypal saga involving daunting trials of endurance, it unfolds in a Day-Glo visual style suggesting Kandinsky’s colorful curves, Matisse’s cutouts and way too many prog-rock album covers. It is unlike anything else in the world, ever, which makes this a must-see, though the sheer brutality with which Treeshaker, Stonecrumbler and Ironrubber press through the pit of Hell and back may make this just a bit too heavy-duty for sensitive younger viewers. Trevor Johnston
97. Perfect Blue (1997)
Director: Satoshi Kon
Best quote: ‘The Internet? That’s popular at the moment. What is it?’
Defining moment: The sight of Mima’s alter ego skipping in midair from lamppost to lamppost would freak anyone out.
The pressures of career choices and the threat of a murderously obsessive fan loosen former pop star Mima’s grasp on reality, in a story that explores the dehumanizing effects of the entertainment industry. ‘Perfect Blue’ also shows how that same industry makes vulnerable women complicit in their own sexual exploitation.
This startling first feature reminds us of the immense talent the anime universe lost when director Satoshi Kon succumbed to cancer at 46. No one else would even have thought of doing this intense psychodrama as an animated feature – the source material’s not dissimilar to ‘Black Swan’ – and surely only Kon had the visual skills to transfer the disturbingly fragmented mise en scène of a Polanski or an Argento into animated form. The outcome is dark, mesmerizing, but also controlled and coherent in a way the hyperimaginative Kon never quite managed again. Trevor Johnston
96. Nausea of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Best quote: ‘Man and insect cannot live together!’
Defining moment: The glow of the rampaging insects’ hate-filled red eyes lines the horizon.
Miyazaki’s first film based on his own original material is a major statement of intent. The man doesn’t just tell stories; he creates entire worlds. That sense of total immersion pays dividends here. It’s truly shocking when the eponymous heroine’s peaceful agrarian community comes under attack from a warmongering nation whose aggressive expansion plans could completely unbalance the postapocalyptic environment, where deadly giant insects lurk in the so-called Sea of Decay.
Just as ‘Star Wars’ did before it, the film thrillingly shows how one individual’s distinctive perceptions can affect events on a cosmic scale, yet the triumph here is the insistence on endeavoring to resolve mankind’s fate rather than deploy more destruction. Looking to discover early Miyazaki? Start with this epic saga of conflict and compassion. Trevor Johnston
95. Little Otik (2000)
Director: Jan Svankmajer
Best quote: ‘He’s our child and we have to stick by him through thick and thin.’
Defining moment: When the baby devours his own father: Svankmajer never lets Freud get the better of him.
Adapted from a Czech folktale, Svankmajer’s gleefully wicked satire depicts how far a childless couple go to satisfy their parental impulses. After the husband finds a tree stump shaped a little like a human baby, he cleans it up and presents it to his wife, but she soon comes to believe it’s actually their child. Such is her devotion that it somehow brings the thing to life, and its increasingly insatiable appetite has to be dealt with – by any means necessary.
With his customary mix of live action and stop-motion animation, Svankmajer explores the more lethally destructive aspects of familial affection and loyalty; at once nightmarish, grotesque and genuinely subversive, the film is also savagely funny as the solipsistic monster grows and grows. Geoff Andrew
94. Night on the Galactic Railroad (1985)
Directors: Gisaburo Sugii and Arlen Tarlofsky
Best quote: ‘I’m going to be just like that scorpion...’
Defining moment: An old woman sings ‘Nearer, My God, to Thee’ in the most cracked and haunting voice imaginable.
Kenji Miyazawa’s 1927 novel is a standard text for Japanese schoolchildren but remains virtually unknown elsewhere. Combining eerie Christian mysticism, awestruck pseudoscience and bleak realism, the book follows two put-upon schoolboys, Giovanni and Campanella, as they board the titular train to the stars and beyond. Anime directors Gisaburo Sugii and Arlen Tarlofsky made one major change when they adapted Miyazawa’s work for the screen: They replaced all the central human characters with cute anthropomorphized kittens. But if their intention was to make the story more appealing to youngsters, they were way off.
With its meditative pace, unstructured plotting, and rambling, often incomprehensible discourses on morality and mortality, this is about as kid-friendly as a morning in church. For those with patience, however, it is a beautiful, frequently enlightening trip. Tom Huddleston
93. Kirikou and the Sorceress (1998)
Director: Michel Ocelot
Best quote: ‘Why are you mean and evil?’
Defining moment: Any time Kirikou’s tiny legs scamper across the savannah.
French director Michel Ocelot, whose deliberately simple visual style celebrates the power of the silhouette, grew up in Guinea, and manages the rare feat (for a Western filmmaker) of telling a rural African tale without patronising his subject matter. Instead, the action proceeds with the patience and confidence of a fable, as plucky Kirikou wisely refuses to accept the rule of fear exerted by the stern sorceress Karaba over his home village.
Adults will pick up on the political analogy with the continent’s dictatorial rulers, but younger viewers are more likely to be mesmerized by the courage and resilience of the pint-size protagonist. Yes, there’s realistic and entirely nonsexual nudity in the imagery here, but it would be a shame to let Anglo-Saxon prudery stop this delightful film from becoming a much-loved family classic. Trevor Johnston
92. James and the Giant Peach (1996)
Director: Henry Selick
Best quote: ‘Try looking at it another way.’
Defining moment: The eponymous peach is set free from its tree and rolls to freedom, leaving much bewilderment in its wake.
Many filmmakers have struggled to nail the blend of the whimsical and the macabre in Roald Dahl’s inimitable children’s fiction. Oddly, the ones who succeed best are those who put their own creative personality first: Nicolas Roeg, Wes Anderson and, in this winningly surreal take on Dahl’s least overtly filmable work, Henry Selick.
The ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ director’s Gothic-style puppetry and doleful sense of humour are ideally suited to this initially melancholy, increasingly manic tale of a lonely young orphan whose life takes a turn for the better when he boards a giant peach bound for New York and populated with lovable mutant bugs. Short, strange and bookended with live-action sequences scarcely less cartoonish than the rest, it’s a fond but inventive tribute to a great storyteller. Guy Lodge
91. Gulliver's Travels (1939)
Director: Dave Fleischer
Best quote: ‘There’s a g-g-giant on the b-b-beach!’
Defining moment: Lilliputian ingenuity and effort transport their new arrival back to the royal castle.
The achievements of the Fleischer brothers (director Dave and producer Max) have long been overshadowed by Walt Disney, yet they invented many key animation techniques, brought sound to the medium, and found wide audiences for their Betty Boop, Popeye and Superman shorts. Still, Disney’s 1937 ‘Snow White’ was a game-changer, and the Fleischers responded with their own animated feature, which took the more family-friendly elements from Swift’s caustic original and delivered an upbeat story in which shipwrecked sailor Gulliver intervenes in the senseless conflict between tiny rival nations over the music at a forthcoming royal wedding.
The operetta-influenced warbling hasn’t worn especially well, and the knockabout comedy lacks subtlety, yet the thought-through detail with which the Fleischers imagine Lilliput’s micro fixtures and fittings still impresses. A worthwhile reminder that Disney didn’t have it all its way. Trevor Johnston
90. Goodbye Mr. Christie (2011)
Director: Phil Mulloy
Best quote: ‘That villain’s **** is huge!’
Defining moment: When our hero Mr Christie accidentally kills God. Well, He was disguised as a spider.
How’s this for a plot synopsis? After being seduced by a studly French sailor, straitlaced upper-middle-class father, husband and unwitting reality-TV star Mr Christie goes insane and decides to dig a hole to Australia in the garden. Emerging in the Tokyo subway system by mistake, Mr Christie inadvertently murders God and is exiled to the land of the dead, where he meets Adolf Hitler, Jesus and Dracula. Sadly, just as he’s starting to get a handle on things, the local parish priest decides to rape Mrs Christie, leading to the destruction of the universe.
Part of artist and animator Phil Mulloy’s ongoing Christie series (which has so far consisted of 12 shorts and two features, with another in the pipeline), ‘Goodbye Mr Christie’ utilises ultraminimalist animation, computer-modulated deadpan voices and a dry, mordant wit to create something that is at once enlightening, aggravating, strangely moving and extremely funny. Tom Huddleston
89. ParaNorman (2012)
Directors: Chris Butler and Sam Fell
Best quote: ‘Can’t you be like other kids your age?’
Defining moment: Norman attempts to wrench a book of spells from the rigor-mortis-stiff grasp of a corpse.
If, in a few years’ time, a generation of teenagers develops an unhealthy fixation with wearing black and the undead, point the finger of blame at ‘ParaNorman’. Never has a kids’ film been so gloriously ghoulish. Our hero is a horror-film-obsessed 11-year-old called Norman (nicknamed Ab-Norman by the kids at school, who graffiti ‘freak’ on his locker). Norman can see ghosts – which terrifies his meat-and-potatoes dad, who’s worried that his son will grow up into ‘limp-wristed hippie stuff’.
The second stop-motion animation from the studio Laika (after 2009’s ‘Coraline’), ‘ParaNorman’ was brought lovingly to life, with up to 300 people working on it at a time, and 3-D printers to animate characters’ faces. The detail, down to the zombies’ tombstone teeth, is stunning. Cath Clarke
88. Ernest and Celestine (2012)
Directors: Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar and Benjamin Renner
Best quote: ‘If you don’t eat me, I’ll give you whatever you most want in the world.’
Defining moment: Parallel court cases above and below ground, as Ernest and Celestine try their best to end
Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar came to prominence with the deliciously absurd, aptly titled ‘A Town Called Panic’, to which this more conventionally visualized heart-warmer seems positively Disneyesque by comparison – if Disney made off-kilter political allegories involving bohemian bears and tooth-collecting mice on the fringes of society, all rendered in delicate watercolor tones.
A dark-horse Oscar nominee in 2014, this adorable oddity was big in France, but has yet to find the English-speaking audience it deserves; perhaps a new Forest Whitaker–featuring dub will make the difference. In its current form, however, it’s as pretty and as quintessentially Gallic as a plate of pastel-colored macarons, though with a sharper bite than you might expect. Guy Lodge
87. The Bugs Bunny/Road-Runner Movie (1979)
Directors: Chuck Jones and Phil Monroe
Best quote: ‘Duck season! Wabbit season! Duck season! Wabbit season!’
Defining moment: Too many to choose from, but the Wagner-inspired ‘What’s Opera, Doc?’ will make your jaw drop.
The only conceivable reason why this roundup of the best Warner Bros. shorts isn’t higher on this list is because so few are aware of its existence. Released briefly into theaters in 1979, the film opens with Bugs Bunny in scholarly mode, looking back over the history of the chase movie from the earliest silents to the present day. Cue a cavalcade of some of the most insanely inventive, vigorously intelligent, wildly subversive and mind-bendingly bizarre skits and spoofs ever seen on film.
The highlights are now part of our culture: Elmer Fudd going toe-to-toe with Bugs in ‘Rabbit Fire’; Daffy Duck berating his own animator in the dizzying ‘Duck Amuck’; the surly appearance of Marvin the Martian in ‘Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century’. But where else can you find them all in one place? We don’t use the word genius lightly, but this qualifies. Tom Huddleston
86. The Tale of the Fox (1930)
Directors: Irene Starewicz and Wladyslaw Starewicz
Best quote: ‘Sir, I demand compensation for a cold, a nervous breakdown and some stolen hams.’
Defining moment: The silver-tongued, rascally fox talks his way out of the hangman’s noose.
Wes Anderson acknowledged ‘The Tale of the Fox’ as the biggest single influence on the look of ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’. Watching the 1930 French film today (you can see it in full on YouTube), it’s astonishing how fresh and modern it is. Codirector Wladyslaw Starewicz pioneered stop-motion animation, creating the elegant world of ‘The Tale of Fox’ with his daughter Irene.
Fast, funny and anarchic, ‘The Tale of the Fox’ is as giddily inventive as Pixar, and as charming as Wallace and Gromit. But no film today could get away with being this deliciously and subversively cynical. In another kids’ film, the crafty, cunning fox would get his comeuppance. Not here. After a string of dastardly crimes, Monsieur Fox is hauled in front of the king of beasts, a chin-stroking lion, only to cheat his way to freedom. Bravo. Cath Clarke
85. Coonskin (1975)
Director: Ralph Bakshi
Best quote: ‘Harlem. Yeah! The pot of smack at the end of the rainbow. No more happy-actin’, back-bustin’. Harlem!’
Defining moment: A naked obese preacher who claims he’s the black Jesus shoots holes in photos of John Wayne, Richard Nixon and Elvis Presley.
After introducing drug use, salty street talk and working genitalia into his scandalous first feature, ‘Fritz the Cat’, Ralph Bakshi really caused a stir with this caustic look at race relations, featuring three animated brothers in conflict with both phony revolutionaries and the New York Mafia. Notwithstanding the white and gay characters (just as caricatured as the black ones), racial-equality groups were appalled and the film was barely released, later emerging on DVD under the more benign title ‘Street Fight’.
Viewed in retrospect – and putting aside the Tarantino argument of whether a white writer-director has the right to use the n-word so liberally – it’s possible to see Bakshi attempting a strong statement about the subjugation of African-Americans, but undermining himself by using the worst stereotypes of preachers, pimps and whores to make his point. Trevor Johnston
84. Castle in the Sky (1986)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Best quote: ‘The crystal should remind us that we come from the earth and to the earth we must return.’
Defining moment: The destructive power of a giant robot signals the ominous threat of Laputan technology.
For the very first Studio Ghibli production, writer-director Miyazaki stepped forward boldly with fleets of lovingly realised vintage flying machines. The film traces the story of a young girl wondering whether the glowing crystal passed to her as a family heirloom will lead her to the legendary flying city of Laputa.
If the tale then proceeds along expected lines, the exhilaration of the myriad chase sequences and aerial dogfights remains a marvel (not least given the rudimentary technology available to the Ghibli animators at the time). Also, a strong, ecologically aware undertow adds ballast to otherwise slightly two-dimensional villains.
As such, it’s not as thematically rich as Miyazaki’s best (those titles are coming up), but the sheer imagination on view as the camera navigates the richly thought-out Laputa cityscape is obviously the product of a true visionary. Trevor Johnston
83. Ghost in the Shell (1995)
Director: Mamoru Oshii
Best quote: ‘I am a living, thinking entity who was created in the sea of information.’
Defining moment: Our security-agent heroine pulls the connectors from her neck and we realize she’s a cyborg.
Among the first Japanese anime features to be released theatrically in the West, this remarkable vision of the networked future arrived when most of us were barely aware of the Internet. As an elite cybercrime squad hunts down a dangerous hacker known as the Puppetmaster (who’s active online yet elusive in the real world), the story is also an opportunity to wonder if a character is still human when its body is a patchwork of cyborg limbs, and its memories a catalog of information open to manipulation.
It’s more a think piece than a thriller, and you can certainly see the roots of the ‘Matrix’ trilogy here. A ‘Blade Runner’–like noir atmosphere still compels, meshing beautifully with Kenji Kawai’s electro-organic score to convey the aching melancholy of being connected to everything, yet remaining utterly alone. Trevor Johnston
82. Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Directors: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson and Hamilton Luske
Best quote: ‘If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t.’
Defining moment: Alice disappearing down the rabbit hole is only the beginning of the weirdness.
Walt Disney had long had his eyes on adapting Lewis Carroll, and when he did so, the results were faithful enough to qualify as one of the studio’s strangest offerings. Evoking the books’ original John Tenniel illustrations but with more than a touch of Disney cuteness, the film as a whole is in thrall to Carroll’s singular visual imagination and his play with language. But it doesn’t quite know how to turn dotty schoolgirl Alice’s episodic odyssey following the white rabbit into anything resembling a satisfying story.
One can only imagine what apple-pie audiences thought of it at the time, besieged by hookah-puffing caterpillars, hallucinogenic mushrooms, the Mad Hatter’s tea party and an evidently psychotic Queen of Hearts. It was subsequently a late-night favorite among the herbally assisted. Trevor Johnston
81. Robin Hood (1973)
Director: Wolfgang Reitherman
Best quote: ‘Oh, he’s so handsome... just like his reward posters.’
Defining moment: The opening tune sung by ‘King of the Road’ balladeer Roger Miller sets the scene perfectly, with laid-back country charm and wheezy gags.
Disney may be infamous for manhandling the world’s finest folktales into moralistic all-American parables (see also ‘The Sword in the Stone’, ‘Aladdin’, ‘Mulan’, etc.), but there are times when it really works. ‘Robin Hood’ is a fine example: The ‘Jungle Book’ director Wolfgang Reitherman’s decision to transplant hokey, cowpokey Western movie tropes to Ye Olde England should have led to disaster, but the resulting film is so sweet-natured, so casual, so doggone friendly that it becomes impossible to resist.
The minuscule budget meant that entire sequences and characters were lifted wholesale from earlier Disney hits (just think of Little John as a brown Baloo), but somehow this only adds to the film’s unpretentious, shaggy-dog charm. Tom Huddleston
80. The Lord of the Rings (1978)
Director: Ralph Bakshi
Best quote: ‘My precious…’
Defining moment: The attack at the ford by Rotoscoped Black Riders is truly unnerving.
First, let’s get the standard complaints out of the way: Yes, it can be a bit goofy, and some of the voices are way off (whose bright idea was it to cast C-3PO Anthony Daniels as Legolas?). And yes, it unexpectedly stops halfway through, with Frodo and Sam still lost in the wild and the Riders of Rohan beating back the orc army at Helm’s Deep (a conclusion was actually shot for TV, without Bakshi’s involvement, but the less said about that the better). But please, let’s focus on the positives, and there are many.
The characterization is simple but effective: We’d say that Sam Gamgee is more wholesomely Tolkienish here than in the Jackson version. The action scenes are genuinely gripping, especially the climactic battle. And most of all, the visual style is just glorious, from the ornate, convincingly twisted woods of Fangorn to those utterly unique Rotoscoped Ringwraiths. Tom Huddleston
79. The King and the Mockingbird (1980)
Director: Paul Grimault
Best quote: ‘Attention: A charming shepherdess and a worthless little chimney sweep are being hunted by His Majesty the King’s police.’
Defining moment: A giant robot under the mockingbird’s control frees a young chicken from its cage, before smashing said cage with its fist.
If you chucked Disney characters into a sci-fi setting and sprinkled in a dose of French lyricism, you might end up with something like ‘Le Roi et L’Oiseau’. The film, scripted by poet Jacques Prévert and loosely based on a Hans Christian Andersen tale, tells the story of a detestable king brought down by arrogance and the machinations of his own paintings (trust us, it makes sense when you watch it).
Ostensibly a kids’ flick, it doubles as a cautionary tale about the dangers of totalitarianism – the king’s absurdly ornate palace brings to mind the Bavarian castles beloved of the Nazis, whose regime had barely collapsed when Prévert and Paul Grimault began scripting it in 1948. But above all, it’s a great yarn, at once warm and sharply satirical, all 32 tortuous years of its production visible in the glorious attention to detail. Alex Dudok De Wit
78. Kung Fu Panda (2008)
Directors: Mark Osborne and John Stevenson
Best quote: ‘Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.’
Defining moment: The beautiful prologue sequence, playing on Chinese shadow-puppet traditions.
Jack Black’s public profile was on the verge of hitting full saturation when this knockabout, action-packed tribute to Chinese martial-arts flicks was released. Its huge success may have been instrumental in pushing Black over the line from lovable manchild to omnipresent irritation. It’s a shame, because ‘Kung Fu Panda’ really is inventive and enjoyable, and much of its success is due to Black, whose overweight, ever-eager hero, Po, is the big, soft heart of the movie.
It could be argued that the film goes slightly overboard on the voice casting – Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen, Ian McShane and, somewhat inevitably, Jackie Chan all chime in – but luckily, ‘Kung Fu Panda’ has the witty script to support their celebrity weight. Tom Huddleston
77. Faust (1994)
Director: Jan Svankmajer
Best quote: ‘How comes it then that thou art now out of hell with me?’
Defining moment: The scene showing a baby’s rapid journey through childhood and adulthood to death is Svankmajer’s Claymation at its best.
Svankmajer’s second feature reimagines the Faust story with reference to Marlowe, Goethe, Gounod, Freud, folk legend – and his own extremely fertile invention. A nondescript everyman (Petr Cepek) emerging from a crowded Prague subway is handed a map with a spot marked X; the next day he visits the place, a dressing room in an abandoned theater, where he unthinkingly transforms himself into Faust and sinks into a sinister realm of arcane spells, alchemy and tricky negotiations with Lucifer.
The man’s seemingly inexorable descent toward annihilation is conveyed by an expertly executed blend of live action, puppetry, Claymation and other forms of filmic trickery. As ever with Svankmajer’s work, the underlying pessimism of the story and characterization are balanced by the director’s mischievously witty delight in the absurd. Geoff Andrew
76. Coraline (2009)
Director: Henry Selick
Best quote: ‘They say even the proudest spirit can be broken... with love.’
Defining moment: Coraline’s first, dizzying adventure in the night garden, with its exploding flowers, fountains and mechanical grasshoppers.
Director Henry Selick and author Neil Gaiman were an inspired match: two hugely talented, totally idiosyncratic artists who worked like catnip on kids with a somewhat dark turn of mind. So far, this is their only collaboration, an adaptation of Gaiman’s 2002 novel, about a girl whose drab new life in a remote cottage with her parents gains a little spark when she discovers a mysterious door into another world.
Selick’s film utilises the same fabric-and-thread stop-motion style as his earlier success ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’, but jettisons that film’s relatively cheery goths-get-festive ethos for something far more twisted and bleak, a mournful meditation on parental responsibility and childish selfishness. Selick’s attempts to shoehorn in Gaiman’s sprawling gallery of characters doesn’t entirely work, and the film can be hard to warm to. But the visuals are breathtaking, from a pulsating, womblike corridor into the ‘button world’, to a series of terrifyingly monstrous transformations. Tom Huddleston
75. Paprika (2006)
Director: Satoshi Kon
Best quote: ‘Isn’t it wonderful to see inside a friend’s dream as if it were your own?’
Defining moment: The opening scene moves from a surreal chase sequence to playback of the same dream images now stored on computer.
It’s called the DC Mini, a flimsy headset that records our dreams as video files. There’s consternation at the research unit when one of the prototypes goes missing. Soon the very fabric of reality tears when the addled psyches of the scientific team and investigating cop take physical form.
The last completed feature of the ill-fated Kon (lost to cancer at 46) exemplifies his uniqueness and his foibles, since the supernova of weirdness bursting from the characters’ imaginations is something to behold: fridges on the march, giant robots at large, a psycho-cutie Japanese doll. While the plot itself makes very little sense, Kon’s depiction of flexible reality inside others’ dreams parallels Christopher Nolan’s ‘Inception’, and his mind-**** cavalcade truly has to be seen to be believed. Trevor Johnston
Edited by BLACHEFAN, 22 April 2017 - 11:20 AM.