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Total Count: 5


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User Ratings: 8,701
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Movie Info

Following up on his cult anime masterpieces Patlabor 2 and Ghost in the Shell, Mamoru Oshii makes his live-action debut with this virtual reality thriller set in a near-future cyberpunk wasteland, in which the youth of an unnamed central European nation are enthralled with violent and illegal virtual reality computer games. Ash (Malgorzata Foremniak) is a ruthless "Class A" fighter and reigning queen of the games. She's itching to move to the next level of playing. Aside from her gaming, she lives a loner's life with her pampered dog. She learns from a former team member, Stunner (Bartek Swiderski), that former game master Murphy (Jerzy Gudejko) was crippled after entering the game's most rarified level, "Special A." The level is only accessible under the right set of unusual circumstances. Once admitted, there is only one way out -- to win. Ash can't wait to prove herself and conquer the game. This film was screened at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival.

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Critic Reviews for Avalon

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (3)

Audience Reviews for Avalon

  • Aug 09, 2013
    I am kind of confused about Avalon, it's an unique film about the effects of video games on people. The direction and cinematography were unique too, but I wasn't sure whether the uniqueness was a good thing or not, it started off quite well then it went downhill steadily. I got so bored of the second half of the film, it was literally intellectually challenging to watch.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Jun 16, 2010
    Avalon was released in 2001, so given its similarities to The Matrix it's all too easy to write off as one of several rip-offs hoping to ride the coat tails of that film. Actually, it's only fair that Mamoru Oshii took some ideas from The Matrix as payback, since many elements of that film were inspired by Oshii's version of Ghost In The Shell. Shot in Warsaw, Poland, the film's sepia-drenched scenes paint a bleak portrait of gritty urban city life. Ash, the heroine, is a single woman with not much of a life making a modest living by playing a futuristic massively multiplayer online shooter called Avalon. Players enter a totally immersive digital world via helmet-like BCIs that look like they could suck your brains out -- and sometimes do. Rumors of a secret level inaccessible to all but the highest ranking players leads Ash on a mission to find one of the game's star players, who has disappeared from the regular game. She joins a group of other high ranking players to find the way in, but rumor has it that when you cross over you have only two options: finish it, or die for real. Avalon, like a poor man's Matrix, asks the audience which is better: to live in a stifling reality or in an imaginary world where nothing is real. But while the Matrix is controlled by sentient machines, Avalon is much more down to earth in an art mimics life sort of way. We've all heard about the Korean gaming cafés where people literally play video games to the point of exhaustion (and in some cases, death); about shameless parents who neglect their children to play popular MMORPGs (with tragic results); gold farmers in China selling digital currency for real money; or "professional gamers" who earn upwards of $150, 000 at gaming competitions. The world presented here isn't so far-fetched. James Cameron called it "the most artistic, beautiful, and stylish sci-fi film", and while I'm not prepared to echo that statement, the visuals, particularly inside the game but also the general urban atmosphere are very well done -- shot on a shoestring or not. He lavished similar praise on Ghost in the Shell, so perhaps Cameron will one day produce Oshii's dream project using some of that Avatar cash (commenting recently on Avatar's Japanese release, Oshii seemed a bit envious of Cameron's toy box of special effects). I think what Avalon has to say about video games and video game addiction is worth checking out if you're a gamer, especially considering most game-to-movie adaptations have been downright awful and have had nothing to say about the medium at all. This review is a repost from my site: www.plasticpals.com
    Robotbling - Super Reviewer
  • Apr 12, 2010
    This is a Japanese movie set in Poland of all places with pollish actors. I saw the english spoken version, and right away I could tell with their thick eastern european accent this movie was a bit strange. terrific visuals and similar in many ways to "the Matrix" and even a bit of "Tron". The acting is indeed wooden but at an hour forty minutes and interesting story, its worth watching. The ending is a bit opaque, however I believe its done purposely for you to decide what is reality and what is not.
    alan j Super Reviewer
  • Nov 29, 2009
    This Mamoru Oshii's first live-action sci-fi motion picture is familiar as <i>Blade Runner</i> meets <i>The Matrix</i> and I thought this is worse and bloody dull I ever watched because it seemed not much exciting to me and bit confused. I suppose that you when you don't understand what the characters are talking about. Horrible, horrible, horrible acting kept distracting me all the time.
    Dean M Super Reviewer

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