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3.8 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From Mamoru Oshii, the acclaimed director of GHOST IN THE SHELL, AVALON is a mesmerizing sci-fi thriller with explosive action and state-of-the-art visual effects in the stunning style of THE MATRIX! In the not-so-distant future, desperate young people risk everything to play "Avalon" -- an illegal and potentially lethal virtual war game where addicted combatants earn points and wealth. For one of the game’s greatest warriors, the "noble soldier" Ash, the search for Avalon’s legendary game stage Class Real will either lead to an entirely higher level of existence -- or be a journey from which she will never return! With awe-inspiring visuals and an intriguing futuristic story, lose yourself in the excitement of this amazing cinematic adventure!


Occupying a hazardous fantasy war zone located somewhere between David Cronenberg's eXistenZ and the Matrix trilogy, Mamoru Oshii's Avalon is a must-see entry in the subgenre of virtual-reality thrillers. Combining live-action set in a dystopian near future (filmed in Poland) and digital imagery set within a state-sponsored virtual combat game called Avalon, this sluggishly paced but visually dazzling film is another brain-teaser from the director of Ghost in the Shell. The action focuses on a maverick Avalon ace named Ash (played by the lovely Polish actress Malgorzata Foremniak) who advances to the game's highest and most mysterious level, "Class Real," a virtual world so authentically convincing that some--called "the Unreturned"--choose never to leave it. As with the Matrix trilogy, Avalon is more intriguing in premise than execution, filled with hushed tones and heavy-handed portent. Still, the amber-hued ruins of Oshii's virtual landscape are oddly alluring as a means of escape--a warning from Oshii, perhaps, that even the most exciting virtual reality is a trap that can prove deadly to those who fall into it willingly. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

  • Special effect featurette
  • Interview with director Mamoru Oshii

Product Details

  • Actors: Malgorzata Foremniak, Wladyslaw Kowalski, Jerzy Gudejko, Dariusz Biskupski, Bartlomiej Swiderski
  • Directors: Mamoru Oshii
  • Writers: Kazunori Itô
  • Producers: Atsushi Kubo, Katsuharu Nagata, Katsuhiro Ogawa, Kazumi Kawashiro, Naoyuki Sakagami
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Polish (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Miramax
  • DVD Release Date: December 16, 2003
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000D9PNY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,837 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Avalon" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Here we go again. MIRAMAX basterdizes another movie. MIRAMAX tends to buy the rights to these great movies & then changes them. I've seen the original AVALON so I can comment on what's been changed. First, the original washed out color of the film is replaced with an deep orange. This really ruins some of the original scenes.At least some colors in the original movie came out. MIRAMAX has ruined the directors vision. If you have this DVD see the extras on the cinamatography & SFX. At least there you'll see the original color that was intended by director Mamoru Oshii.The 2nd thing that's been added is the additoinal dialogue. The main chracter explains the game after her 1st victory. This has been added by MIRAMAX. And lastly at the end or character explains it all or tries to.All this was added to the movie. The directors intention is to make you guess & ponder this wonderful story. But MIRAMAX has decided for you. About the only thing I'll give them credit is the great English dub. I also enjoyed the extras. I have to give this 3 stars. If you can write a protest letter to MIRAMAX. It's so sad how a american Distributor can tamper & ruin a directors vision. I'd recommend getting a foreign version of this movie if you can.
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I am writing this only to help counteract some of the idiocy in other reviews. This movie is not for everyone: no movie is. It is a beautifully shot, wonderfully sculpted, slow-paced, and thought-provoking movie. It does not hand the answers to you on a plate, and that may bother some people, particularly those lazy viewers who rely on Hollywood films to tell them what to think with no room for imagination.

It is not a rip-off of The Matrix. If anything, it's derivative of Oshii's earlier films and thought, which heavily influenced The Matrix. I also loved Ghost in the Shell for many of the same reasons that I liked Avalon. It has some of the pacing of Taste of Cherry. It allows a person to settle in, relax, and absorb all of the deliciousness of the style of the movie and to get inside Ash, the heroine.

The special features are worth seeing. The director is very clear in his interview what his thoughts and intent are in the film. This film is a piece of art, and as such it allows each person to take from it what they want. I can understand people not liking it, but it cannot be denied that this film was done with care and passion and expresses the vision of an interesting person.

There are so many movies out there that are merely eye candy, like the recent Star Wars films, that are so bad otherwise. And so many movies that rely on violence or special effects and are wholly unoriginal but satisfy the kind of viewer who laments how his girlfriend fell asleep and who calls the director, "pretentious." There are few people in the world with the creativity, passion, and artistic sense of this director.
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Format: DVD
Okay, first things first. AVALON is NOT a slam-bang shoot 'em up bullet-time orgy of destruction, so if that's what you're expecting, please skip a couple DVD's to the right and grab James Cameron's ALIENS instead. What AVALON may lack in high-testosterone thrills it more than makes up in mood, atmosphere and thought-provoking reflection which in my humble opinion makes this film (not I didn't call it a "movie") an absolute masterpiece. Don't get me wrong, I like seeing things blow up good every now and again, but AVALON doesn't strive to be a pyrotechnic wire-fu spectacle. Instead, AVALON is a successful mesh of darkly dreamlike cyberpunk aesthetic and European arthouse Noir. It's sense of style lends it an immediate and powerful legitimacy, and the ambiguous nature of the story from start to non-conclusion demands repeat viewings, none of which ever get old.

Malgorzata Foremniak is pitch perfect (and absolutely mesmerizing) as Ash, the coldly reclusive central character through who's eyes we experience a morose, near-Orwellian future where an illegal VR game called Avalon seems to be the only way to break the monotony of bleak existence, as well as rake in a modest living.

The few action sequences within the game are thrilling and imaginative, but it's the quieter moments that really grab your attention. That, coupled with the overall sense of displaced reality, is the magic of AVALON.

Much has been made of AVALON's thematic similarities to The Matrix, but it's important to remember that the Wachowski's ripped off Ghost In The Shell first, a fact which Mamoru Oshii is well aware of and puts to good use in AVALON.
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Format: DVD
I am shocked to see the review which says that Oshiisan has copied the concept of Avalon from Matrix .The whole concept of plugging in, right down to the plug points on the neck of the characters, has been ripped off in Matrix from Oshiisans Ghost in the shell,he does not have to steal what is his,second please, Trinity is a human clone of major Kusanagi of Ghost right down to the way she fights, and the lobby shootout is clearly inspired by the
shootout in the last shootout in Ghost "bits of concrete flying everywhere" etc, and even the poses when characters land after making a leap are copied from ghost "on one knee".Avalon is for people who like Japanese Anime which over the years has inspired the likes of Matrix.And this is something the Wachowski's themselves admit.And a good movie can be in any language for one to appreciate ,I couldnt care if it was russian or polish.I think
people should refrain from tearing down something which they dont know much about.
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