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I was so looking forward to this movie, and I so wanted to like it. After Hayao Miyazaki, Mamoru Oshii is probably my favourite anime director. I loved Patlabor and Ghost in the Shell. That's why I was monumentally disappointed with Avalon. Maybe it was too much to expect that the transition to live action would be smooth or seamless for Oshii. The movie plays as though it was conceived and shot as an animation. There's plenty of dark, moody ambiance and soul-searching facial close-ups but most of the story comes from the dialogue. The other problem is that the plot seems to be abandoned occasionally and the film then becomes a kind of promo for Kenji Kawai's not-unpleasant music score. It all adds up to something that feels laboured and directionless for much of the time. The opening scene is fantastic but once that's over the film struggles to maintain interest and pace. When I got the gist of the story I found myself hoping that the overall ropy-ness was somehow intentional but alas no. Very poor.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Be warned, there might be a very VAGUE spoiler in this comment.
It really only shares with the Matrix some of the most basic concepts (a vaguely-realistic computer-generated world in which one can perform superhuman (or near-superhuman in the case of Avalon) acts of violence, and of course the underlying solipsism), but that is the best thing to compare it with, as fewer people are familiar with the short-lived tv series "Harsh Realm" (which is really a much better comparison). Anyhow, Avalon is reminiscent of those shows, but is DEFINITELY its own movie.
The visuals are done in three different modes...a bizarre, surreal fantasy world (which is largely what the trailers were composed of), the less-weird REAL world, and another, which to describe would be to spoil. And they are fantastic. The un-realism of the game sequences is part of the believability of this film. They look the way one might expect the descendants of today's first-person shooters to look. (Well, except that I would expect more COLOR.) And the dreariness of the real-world sequences makes the payoff at the end that much bigger.
The ONLY complaint I have with this movie (besides that my Japanese isn't good enough to make out all the subtitles, and I don't speak Polish) is that it doesn't show us much of the real world. Everything we see is directly related to the game...it has about as much depth in that respect as the world in Pokemon. Of course, one might debate that that also pays off in the end.
OK, I really liked this film for some crazy reason --- even ---When Ash
the protagonist takes off her combat helmet and reveals another Helmet
-- a hair Helmet -- that's right a wig, which looks like a wig for the
entire movie -- but somehow it works! ---When the most communicative
and empathetic character in the movie is a dog, and even if we don't
know exactly what happened to the dog, we love him -- clearly the
director relates more to dogs then to people. ---even if the dubbing is
not great -- couldn't they find someone who spoke English without
accent. The Polish works much better. ---even if the characters are
basically lifeless --- but the Music by Kawai is first rate and is the
only life in the movie ---besides the dog. ---even if the story line is
slow, plodding and at times confusing ---No this is not the Matrix,
however, if there was just a bit more clarity in the story line, and
the characters had a bit more 'character' I think this could have
actually made it somewhere. ---even if Ash has broad shoulders,---- but
did the Director have to take shots making Ash look like she was 3 feet
wide on top? ---even if key elements seem to be missing from this
movie, probably because Oshii the Director has a complete lack of
understanding of the human condition -- as opposed to the dog's!
Thus, this film will not appeal to everyone, but it grows on you--- I guess.
I loved the matrix and if you where interestead at all by the trilogy youll love this movie and come to find this movie has more practical solutions on how people are connected to a computer and more believable plot like a video game not a drawn out futuristic world ruled by machines even though it was a good idea alot of people found it to be a bit much. The plot I will admit is very reminsicant of the matrix but none the less has its own story to where your not ragging on about what a rip off it is. And dont worry about seeing any emulated bullet time scenes they did something different with that... Shot in Poland and I do believe they are speaking Polish so just turn on the subtitles and theres not that much dialouge its a quiet movie so its more visual then audio. Id recommend it to any Matrix Fan or fan of RPG's.
I loved this film. It drawed me in early in the film & kept my attention
all the way through. Takes a minimalist approach at times to action &
dialog, and this is a good thing.
Visually very interesting, reminiscent of old black & white films.
Musical by Kenji Kawai is stunning.
Weel worth checking out but may not be for everyone. 8/10
A great mix between anime and reality. It might be said it's based on "The Matrix", but isn't that the main key of the movie from a completely different perspective? An invitation to the limit of not knowing if what u see is real or imagnimation ;)
You whine about the movie being boring, but it has to be, you watch the scenes what are meant to show the reality as boring, its not the movies fault that you cant understand it. You dont like it because it is boring ? you whine that there is no action, cant you read ? Genre: Animation / Fantasy / Sci-Fi / Drama (NO ACTION) In this Animation / Fantasy / Sci-Fi / Drama movie, there was enough action for me. If you want more action, go and play your Counter-Strike.
Avalon combines ideas from previous movies only to deteriorate them, to oxydate them, to corrugate them to a point where this movie has become a reminiscence, and where this melancholy has become a central subject, aptly conveyed by cold blooded postwar Poles. It's scary.
I just saw this film on the first day of its opening. I went in not
much about it except that it's a Japanese SF film and had good reviews. To
cut to the point, I liked it but I'm not sure I got it.
The atmosphere's great - the monotone visualizations, the expressionless stares of the heroine, Ash and the majestic and dark music stay in your mind. The fact that the film's in a foreign language (Polish as I found out) adds to the exotic and surreal feeling of the film. As it's all supposed to be a game anyway, there's very little emotion shown and therefore viewers are truly spectators only with little empathy with the characters.
Many people will be bored by this film, but if you're prepared to be a little patient and get sucked in, you'll love the look, feel and sound of it.
I have seen this film in 2001,when it was released in
Then I was rather disappointed. The plot seemed to be weak,
the drama-- boring.
But I changed my thought recently after having seen it again on
It isn't so boring, It is a film for our time, when traditional cinema is
dying or dead everywhere. It is a historical process,going not only in
cinema. In fact "Avalon" tells about the background of contemporary visual
medias--all our visual experiences by them is now digitalized and we can't
discern clearly where the Reality begins to be replaced by digital VR space.
Now VR very deeply intrudes into our life.
It makes our life something empty.
Now cinema depends on 3DCG and special effects even in the most usual
scenes--fog on the night garden, the landscape outside the
the color of actors' skin or even movements of their eyes...
But only a few directors makes films "about it".
Of course "Avalon" is not about cinema. Oshii had already made one film about cinema years before("Talking Head"), which is comical and grotesque but not so good. After that Oshii learned to disguise himself--use seemingly "commercial", "simple" stories or genres to tell things which is going on in the world. In this way he could keep making films with growing budget, with growing visual complexity, which is beyond the reach of other Japanese "art house"filmmakers. I had seen almost all the works of Mamoru Oshii,including his TV serials of 1970s. He is a skilled, unique director and his thought is recently going too far from usual audience, including lovers of old art house films. But his method--skillful use of commercial conditions--allows him to make films. It is a right way, when there is no other choice. From this point of view, "Avalon" is a good film for our time and of our time, though I can't use the word "masterpiece".
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