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In a future world, young people are increasingly becoming addicted to an illegal (and potentially deadly) battle simulation game called Avalon. When Ash, a star player, hears of rumors that a more advanced level of the game exists somewhere, she gives up her loner ways and joins a gang of explorers. Even if she finds the gateway to the next level, will she ever be able to come back to reality?Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The screen showing Ash's points after the first battle lists as a Gotten Item an SVD 7.65x56R. The SVD Dragonov is a Russian sniper rifle which uses 7.62x54R ammunition. See more »
what do you think is the best, a game you think you can finish, but never do, or a game that seems impossible to win, but isn't?
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North American (Region 1) DVD release in 2003 features additional narration by the lead character "Ash" in the English dubbed version -- most notably after the pre-credits battle scene, and at the end of the film, the latter of which initially played out without any dialog. As a result of the added narration, the enigmatic ending becomes easier to understand for North American viewers. The added narration actually creates a very large problem with the 'Polish with English subtitles' option on the Region 1 DVD, since the 'traslantion' subtitles are actually dub-titles (they simply transcribed the Enlgish dub as the Polish dialog). This results in innumerable inaccuracies in the script (almost all mention of the connections to the King Arthur myth are lost on any language of the Region 1 version), and the subtitles also show up during the sequences where the English version has narration, meaning that in the middle of a dialog-less scene, the subtitles will show up anyway. Miramax has not recalled or corrected the DVD, but an uncut anamorphic version with proper subtitles is available from UK company Blue Light. See more »
This is a stunningly visual film which takes many of the best elements of the minor sub-genre of 1980s and 1990s sci-fi involving virtual reality, and blends them into an interesting story exploring social withdrawal, addiction, the nature of reality, and the value of life. The film does have a bit of new wave pretentiousness to it - using cliché hacker-names for the players of Avalon, etc, but no more so than many of its competitors (and a bit less than The Matrix). If this sort of thing doesn't appeal to you - and especially if you're the type who wants a film to simply entertain and tell you a simple story, don't bother to read any further.
The film uses a story-telling technique common in good literature but unfortunately under-used in film - that of intentional ambiguity. The best example of this is the main character - well played by Malgorzata Foremniak. You simply don't know what to make of "Ash". Though I found it easy to relate to this character, and I think I understand her, I am not sure most viewers will. In my opinion, Ash is best interpreted as a person with an iron-clad grip on reality, who nevertheless maintains a distance from the people around her, and prefers to keep her relationships "in-game". This is not at all an uncommon personality type, especially among women and mature males in the real worlds of virtual reality and on-line gaming.
The film focuses on Ash's ambitions to become the best player of Avalon - an ultra-real and sometimes deadly virtual reality game - in the world. Avalon is illegal and run on LANs which are set up in what looks like futuristic crack houses. To become recognized as the best, Ash has to complete a level which tends to put anybody who enters it into a catatonic state. She comes to believe that an old team mate of hers - Murphy - inhabits that zone, and wants to rescue him. But of course the designers of the game have other plans, and maybe Murphy himself does as well. Foremniak does a great job of playing this ambiguous yet sympathetic character. Ash, the carefully developed script, the excellent soundtrack, and the superb and beautiful visual effects, all keep you guessing until the very end. I never knew what to expect from this film, and I was very pleased by the way it developed its own concepts of logic and justice - remaining centered on Ash throughout.
Avalon was interesting enough for a second and perhaps a third viewing. I will update my review (if needed) after my next round with it. For now, I will only give it a very high recommendation to anybody who has read this far. After all, if you've read this far in the review, you're probably interested enough in the film to see it.
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