Nine-ish years ago now, there was a movie named The Cell. It stared Jennifer Lopez and Vince Vaughn, and to be perfectly frank, I don't hold either in esteem for their acting abilities... But the concept... a hell of a concept, there, dream diving. I only saw parts at a time, but the cinematography and visual style were almost spot on... almost.
Six years later an anime named Paprika was released. The concept was revisited. Again it was a thriller, though this time not a crime thriller, at least not in the sense The Cell was. The acting of the drawn characters, and the voice acting behind them is clearly professional. The stylistic tone changed from obnoxiously loud to thoughtful and colorful.
At one point the conceit is carried slightly too far, but it is used to convey the final connotations of the theme. Also to finalize the exploration of the characters and their subtler motivations.
I'm not sure what I think of The Cell, to be honest. It was good, in it's way, but not a great work of cinema. I'm not sure how I feel in it's entirety about Paprika... because I am simply in awe of being allowed to witness such powerful and sublime cinema. Or to put it simpler, it would be like comparing the difference between a Micheal Bay film, and Schindler's List. For whatever faults I can eventually nit pick out of examining Paprika, I find so much more, that I hadn't even been aware of as I watched, that leaves me in awe of their writing and directing.
I only regret not watching it sooner.