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Watching movies is like dreaming with your eyes open. Hardly an original thought, I know. In fact, it’s been a staple of film commentary for nearly a century.

But in Japan, Hollywood and elsewhere, filmmakers have long been using CGI, 3-D and other tech tools to create an artificial hyper-reality on the screen. One aim is to keep audiences awake, but one frequent effect is to make the film more forgettable. The expensively produced shocks and thrills evaporate as you walk out the theater doors. The reason: Your nervous system has been stimulated, but not your unconscious. Your waking dream hasn’t been deep enough.

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