OK. Interesting premise? Check. Noteworthy director? Check. Decent Actors? Check. Story? ? Story? Aww to Hell with it. It?s close enough. That?s the thought process that I felt went into Mamoru Oshii?s Avalon. The whole idea and visuals of the film were great. I was just bored watching it.
Set in a not-too-distant future, the world is seemingly overrun by a virtual reality game called Avalon. There?s a risk to it though because some users are coming out of the game braindead. That?s OK though because it?s fun! The film follows Ash, a pro player searching for?something. She lives a very lonely life, but is feared and respected in the halls of Avalon. Someone from her past shows up and she sets out on some sort of adventure or something. To be honest, I lost interest by the time this happened, so I can?t really tell you what was going on by the end. On the surface it looks like the film is trying to discern what is more real; the game or reality?
Visually, the film is fantastic. It was made with this sort of hazy light surrounding the characters which gives many scenes a sort of dream-like quality, especially those seen in the game. In the outside world, things seem rather dry and boring showing that these players who can take out helicopters and tanks like it?s an every day thing can barely live a normal day-to-day life. The in-game scenes also feature some interesting effects such as the ?deaths? of characters as they suddenly become two dimensional and then disappear in a cloud of pixels. The game system itself, a horrible second cousin of a dentist?s chair looks rather impressive from a prop standpoint as well.
That?s about all I got out of the film though. I kept waiting for something interesting to happen, but it didn?t. Things picked up a little bit towards the end of the film where Ash reaches a whole new level of gameplay that looks remarkably like the real world. I was faced with the question of whether or not she was really in a game. Unfortunately by that point I couldn?t care less. I wouldn?t recommend this film. If you like the premise and want to see something at least moderately interesting, check out the Anime series .hack//sign.