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Reviews & Ratings for
Avalon More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Questions with a great soundtrack

Author: lomenoldur from Oxford, UK
10 December 2002

Avalon is not your average Hollywood movie. In fact, it is quite off any average. Although it appears to contain a lot of action (fighting _is_ the essence in the virtual world of the computer war game 'Avalon') the story itself unfolds in the quiet moments in between. The atmosphere is dense and foreboding. Muting all colours and adapting the colours of the reality to the amber-black and white of the computer screen creates a strong feeling of detachment from the world. And thus provoking the questions of 'who am I?' and 'what is my reality?'

The pseudo-classical soundtrack by Kenji Kawai is simply magnificient and powerful. It adds another dimension to the film and carries many of the emotions that are half-expressed or hidden on the screen.

As others have written don't expect easy answers. Rather take someone else with you to see the film and talk afterwards.

All in all, 8/10 (but perhaps this increases when I see it again).

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

If you are stupid DON'T see it!

Author: gisela-2 from Paris, France
27 October 2002

I've read the other comments and I really think that movies like this one are not for stupid minds. So, if your brain still works, and if you don't swallow Hollywood films, then you'll enjoy this film. OK, you won't understand it, who cares? that will make you USE YOUR BRAIN and THINK. About the music, it's wonderful, really beautiful. Of course if you like Heavy Metal and Rock & Roll, please don't see this movie, we don't need your comments if they are bad! I would say that this mix of Japanese creation and a Polish team is really excellent. Worth seeing!

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

"Welcome to the Real world"

Author: Stephen Christie from sheffield, england
21 June 2002

This sepia dreamlike state of Avalon is the nearest we are going to get to Anime, on the cinema screen. Oh it's like the Matrix, only clever! Existenz used the plot device of the virtual Game world first, true but symbolism and ambiguity don't make a great film. Except maybe in this case, bias to the world of anime, Yes. Hate Hollywood, not really, i just dislike the majority of the cliche tripe that it produces. But here Oshii has created a film that is for once accessable to a western audience, it is simple and conventional and you don't need a degree in microtechnology to understand the techno-garble. The boundaries of reality and the game blur to a conclusion that is no Spacey is Keyser Soze, but is wholly satisfying in it's familiarity. Avalon is visually stunning, and bleak in its Orwellian vision of technology and it's power of control. but what is more important is that it is visually interesting and original. (Attack of the clones, someone watched Blade Runner, Fifth Element and Gladiator the day before his script was due) Ash, our hero has no real life outside of the game. She exists to be the best at Avalon, a computer generated war simulation, that has made her wealthy in comprasion to the oppressed masses. Poland is a great setting and displays the poverty and desperation of the scenerio. This a bleak reality devoid of colour. the film is full of mythology, technology, Osmii has created a weird hybrid that still feels like a nature exstention of his animated classics Patlabor and Ghost in the Shell. Iconography is characteristic of Osmii, the slow motion bullet fire, techno-garble, femme fatale heroine and long musical montages set to orchestral pieces.

Oshii is a film maker who knows how to construct a scene, on the screen through visuals, he is not an MTV quick editing junkie. Avalon is slow, but that is it's beauty. It has a sense of history, it knows what medium it is working in, it is a film unlike Hollywood's recent pop video approach to film making. The Brown's of Avalon are our future, bleak but at least they have soul.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Another masterpiece from Mamoru Oshii

Author: Sentinel-15 from Antwerp, Belgium
8 June 2002

I absolutely *love* this movie. Every frame is like a work of art. While the (allmost) monochromatic cinematography may put some people off, the soundtrack by Kenji Kawai is a masterpiece by itself.

Reportedly, Malgorzata Foremniak, the film lead actress, was cast because she looked like Motoko Kusanagi, who was the main character in Oshii's 1995 anime masterpiece, "Ghost in The Shell"...

And she does! She performs greatly, BTW, and makes one wonder what GiTS would have looked like as a live-action feature film.

Don't expect easy answers here. Don't expect answers at all, for that matter. Sometimes, the questions are all that matters.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:


Author: ( from Sweden
17 April 2002

This is probably the best movie I ever seen. And without doubt it does have a given place in TOP 10.

I have to disagree with all you people who say it lacks in Story.

My only explanation is that you didnt watch close enough , cause its there allright, and its awesome. The last sentence in the movie explains it all.

I also saw someone mention the scene with the man eating breakfast with his fingers in closeup. I have to agree , that scene was so gross I wanted to press fast forward. On the other hand it explains alot about Ash personality.

Even thou I would like to give this movie a 10 out of 10 ,

I have to give it a 9 because of some flaws,

I loved the movie.

And I have no doubt this is a part of our future ... Id say no more than 30 years from now , but then again I might be wrong :)

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Unique aesthetic experience

Author: Simon Booth from UK
17 March 2002

Directed by Mamoru Oshii (Ghost In The Shell, Patlabor) and possibly the most expensive Japanese movie ever or something, Avalon is a curious mixture of live action and CG that presents quite a unique visual experience. The story is based around a virtual reality game (Avalon), and one of its top players (Ash), who begins hearing rumours about a secret level and decides to go exploring. It was shot entirely on location in Poland, in Polish, which was quite a bizarre choice. This is perhaps one of the reasons it doesn't feel remotely like a Japanese movie. In fact, it doesn't feel remotely like anything else.

The CGI usage isn't that heavy, just limited to the scenes inside the game. There aren't too many of these, but they are simply incredible. It's quite a violent game (as games usually are) but this is lessened by the fact that people turn flat and shatter into little polygons when they get shot. The mix here of live action (with the Polish army providing heavy weaponry) and CGI / image manipulation is really effective. The visual style is carried out of the game too, with a heavily desaturated image, and dark run-down Polish locations & raggedy costumes being the fashion - all feels vaguely World War II. The production design throughout the movie is excellent. Very nicely shot too.

Outside the games, the action disappears, and is replaced by intrigue. It's not a dialogue heavy movie by any standards, so most of the intrigue is carried simply by the atmosphere that the visuals and soundtrack create. Did I mention how fantastic the soundtrack by Kenji Kawai (GHOST IN THE SHELL) is? This isn't a movie where you'll get far if you keep trying to stop and analyse it all - I doubt if it makes much sense - just get absorbed into the mood.

The ending of the movie provides absolutely no resolution to the story whatsoever, but I didn't let this worry me. When it finished I wanted to watch it again immediately, but managed to resist since it was already midnight . Guess I liked it quite a bit :D Probably not a movie for everyone though.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Hidden by leaves

Author: Alexander Pozdniakov from Murmansk, Russia
15 March 2002

This movie is definitely not about computer games, virtual reality, war etc. Watch `eXistenZ' and `Matrix' instead.

Main themes of `Avalon' are solitude, desolation, emptiness, calmness…

And what about the story? The shell may be different, but the core is the same.

There is no need to understand this movie at all. As Rilke wrote: ` … be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.'

Just look and listen.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Beautiful and unique science-fiction film

Author: Splatterdome-AMH ( from Switzerland
30 January 2002

Set in a stylized Poland in the near future. It's a dark time where young people seek illusions from an illegal war-game that takes place in a virtual reality. It is called "Avalon" after an island where, according to legend, the souls of the game's heroes had stranded when they had finished the game. Some players of the game create teams called "parties" to advance to higher levels, others are left brain-dead by the game. Female player Ash is one of the best players ever and seems to be able to reach the final level, called "Level of Reality". She has help from a man named Murphy, who once was in a party together with her, and an obscure man called Bishop. Now her goal is to find the "ghost", a mysterious being (looking like a little girl) that seems to be useful to take her to the final level...

This is truly a very unique film, not only in terms of story or atmosphere. It's probably the first-ever Japanese-Polish co-production in the history of movies, shot entirely with a Polish cast by famed Japanese director Mamoru Oshii. As mentioned above, the film creates an amazing and dark atmosphere, mostly because of it's weird, beautiful colors and photography. The music score by Kenji Kawai and especially the song during the opening and closing credits are absolutely wonderful. Set design, cast, special effects and cinematography are all top-notch. CGI effects in this film are among the best I've ever seen, really incredible! But having such an interesting premise, the story left me a bit confused and, yes... disappointed. After a first viewing I really couldn't see that much behind it. Although I have to admit that after repeated viewings I'll probably change my point of view on this. Footnote: There is an irritatingly disgusting scene of a man eating vegetables shown in close-up shoots. I just don't understand why this scene must be in this otherwise beautiful movie. Weird...

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

What happens when the game becomes your reality? Avalon gives you the answer.

Author: Mikelangelo_SLO
5 December 2001

This is one hell of a good movie. I think it is very prophetic in the future way of playing online multiplayer games in virtual reality and especially in danger of becoming addicted to them. Avalon is really beautifully filmed, directed and music is awesome (I liked especially the Voyage to Avalon song performed by Polish opera singer-she really sings great and has a beutiful voice). For my opinion this movie is trully a piece of art. Mamoru Oshii and Kenji Kawaii are geniuses (of course we know that for a long time). The unknown Polish actors are also above average and they play very well (of course I especially liked Malgorzata).

A must see movie for all people who like sci-fi, the ones who like good movies which make them think and for all who like good movie music.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

eXistenZ meets matrix, and in some ways better (SPOILER)

Author: neogamer from Tokyo, Japan
28 March 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Face it, the CG in this movie is good, sometimes surpassing the matrix. The story is like eXistenZ, especially towards the climax in the last area. Acting was good i guess, perhaps because i dont understand polish. The director portrayed the different worlds nicely.

I give 7 for the movie, 2 more for the excellent CG, 1 to the director. totalling10/10

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