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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 games greatest warriors, the "noble soldier" Ash, the search for Avalons 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 effect featurette
- Interview with director Mamoru Oshii
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You can get lost in this film very easily. not that it's difficult, just it works on many different layers. Watch if you can.
The DVD of the movie is cheaper than the CD of the movie music. Cant quite figure that out, but if you get it just for the music, it is well worth it. This is Kawai's best work and for me it makes the movie.
It's a "bladerunner" for BOTS i believe, Ash, and all the characters in the film are BOTS. Their real world is part of the game, avalon, designed so that the bots think they are real and therefore when they play the game, they act more realisticly for the real players.
Some of the bots in the game who are getting destoyed are probably the real players of the game, but from the bots perspective they are bots. The whole thing makes perfect sense from this angle, explains the oddities, characteristics and cold nature of the characters and their askewed "real" world. This is why they are drawn to the reality of the game and also the hidden reality level that 'Murphy' is in; this extra-class A world is in fact an "upgraded" world or "mod", mayby still in development as the newest installment of the game world.
So it's a moral question of the more realistic BOTS get in a game the more they want to be real According to this film, they do, as they are all searching and playing for a more real experience, the better the simulation the more real they feel. That is why Murphy won't go back but he seems to think that the new level is his real home, when Ash kills him i think she realises that she is a bot.
So fascinating to watch when you are clued into the real story but can an edgy 5 as hard to enjoy the film off the bat as much as it should be, since story is presented as an un-answered brainteaser. I really like the subtle/atmospheric story telling syle, is like anime in that way, but would of been good if there was some kind of extra that explained the story properly.
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.
Avalon is not the greatest movie ever made, or even in the top 100, but it is far better than most of the dreck released each week, and it is a movie that makes you think and stays with you. It is worth seeing by anyone who enjoys something a little different and has the patience and courage to use their own brain and not have a movie that's spoon-fed to them.
And then there's the wonderful basset hound.