“Perfect Blue” – Nathan’s Movie Challenge, Week 22
“No, I’m the real thing.”
After watching Perfect Blue, I questioned what was real and what was psychosis of the main character, Mima. That’s almost certainly exactly what director Satoshi Kon intended, and it shows in his clever uses of framing, imagery, editing, and color.
I found after a little bit of post-viewing research that Darren Aronofsky was heavily influenced by Perfect Blue and other works by Kon – and it shows. Rapid cuts are used in various intense moments for maximum effect, and mood building is very similar between the two directors. Parallels to Perfect Blue can definitely be seen in Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream.
I found it a bit amusing that some of the plot involved the protagonist discovering what the internet was for the very first time (browsing the web with Netscape Navigator!), but I had to remind myself – it was the late 90s.
It’s also nice to see anime (or any animated film) tackling a genre like thriller-horror-drama that’s usually almost entirely realized in live-action. It makes me wish that American audiences would be more open to animated films dealing with more complex and adult themes. There’s a lot the medium can bring to tell a compelling, highly visual psychological story, and Kon does an excellent job proving that here.
Perfect Blue was at the time of this review at #646 on my Flickchart list of shame (ranked #1100 among the best films of all time). Here’s how it entered my chart:
Perfect Blue vs. Road to Perdition
There’s something that’s just a little bit lacking in Road to Perdition. It’s not a bad film, but it’s just missing something. Perfect Blue has a lot more going for it.
Perfect Blue vs. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World was much, much better than I expected it to be. It’s a great premise, and a compelling story being told through the unlikeliest pairing. It’ll win this matchup.
Perfect Blue vs. Mad Max
I appreciate what Mad Max did at the time, and it does have some iconic imagery, but it’s also a little slow and drawn out. The franchise became much better with The Road Warrior. Perfect Blue wins.
Perfect Blue vs. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
About the only entry in the Harry Potter franchise I really, really like is Azkaban, so Perfect Blue wins.
Perfect Blue vs. Iron Man 2
Iron Man 2 isn’t actually that bad. While it pales in comparison to certainly the first act of the original film, it has some exciting scenes and character building. Sam Rockwell’s great in it, too – as usual. All that being said – Perfect Blue is the better film.
Perfect Blue vs. Limitless
This matchup gave me pause. Limitless was a great premise realized well, and with surprising conviction. DeNiro was a little underused, but Bradley Cooper plays the lead just right, and the script keeps you guessing. I’ll give it to Limitless, but it’s a close call.
Perfect Blue vs. Beauty and the Beast
Disney hit it big with Beauty and the Beast – rightfully gaining a nomination for Best Picture at the Oscars. It might have won if Silence of the Lambs hadn’t dropped the same year. While there’s a lot to appreciate in Perfect Blue, I’d say Beauty and the Beast is the better cinematic triumph, and certainly a shining example of some of the best work the mouse house has ever done.
Perfect Blue vs. Labyrinth
Labyrinth. Bowie. Connelly. Henson. Lucasfilm. Kind of unbelievable that it was ever made at all. It beats Perfect Blue.
Perfect Blue vs. Attack the Block
Before John Boyega was Finn from Star Wars, he was Moses from the streets of South London. He’s also a big part of the reason Hollywood took notice to Joe Cornish’s alien invasion horror-comedy. It’ll win out over Perfect Blue.
Perfect Blue vs. Teen Wolf
Michael J. Fox won’t win this round.
Perfect Blue is now ranked #403 out of 1439 movies on my Best Movies of All-Time chart.
Up next is Bride of Frankenstein and The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. In the meantime, check out the other films I’ve ranked during the challenge.