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Avalon (2001)

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In a dystopian world, a woman spends her time playing an illegal and dangerous game, hoping to find meaning in her world.

Director:

Mamoru Oshii

Writer:

Kazunori Itô (screenplay)
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4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Malgorzata Foremniak ... Ash
Wladyslaw Kowalski ... Game Master
Jerzy Gudejko ... Murphy
Dariusz Biskupski ... Bishop
Bartlomiej Swiderski Bartlomiej Swiderski ... Stunner (as Bartek Swiderski)
Katarzyna Bargielowska ... Receptionist
Alicja Sapryk Alicja Sapryk ... Gill
Michal Breitenwald ... Murphy of Nine Sisters
Zuzanna Kasz Zuzanna Kasz ... Ghost
Adam Szyszkowski ... Player A
Krzysztof Plewako-Szczerbinski Krzysztof Plewako-Szczerbinski ... Player B (as Krszysztof Szczerbinski)
Marek Stawinski Marek Stawinski ... Player C
Jaroslaw Budnik Jaroslaw Budnik ... Cooper (voice)
Andrzej Debski Andrzej Debski ... Cusinart (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Elzbieta Towarnicka Elzbieta Towarnicka ... Soloist at Philharmonic
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Storyline

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 <rocher@fiberbit.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Dare to enter a world of future videogames


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Mamoru Oshii: [Bassett Hound] See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Bishop: Just as I thought, you are the only one who got through the gate.
Ash: Is this "Special A"?
Bishop: We call it "Class Real". Building it has taken huge amounts of very sophisticated data. In many ways, it's still very experimental.
Ash: In many ways?
Bishop: There's just one thing you have to do to complete it. That's finishing off the Unreturned. Your equipment and skill parameters are returned to default. All you have is a pistol and one clip of ammunition. There are neutral characters operating under free will. Hurt one ...
[...]
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Alternate Versions

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Ghost in the Shell (2017) See more »

User Reviews

 
hard but worth the effort
29 September 2006 | by symboltSee all my reviews

Avalon can be seen as part of a trilogy, the first installment of which would be Ghost in the Shell, the last, Ghost in the Shell: Innocence. Avalon contains many direct references to Ghost in the Shell, and shares a lot of its motif of philosophical search for the self. They also share the cyberpunk imagery, and the fact that the main heroine is an impassive female warrior. I mention all this because I think it's inadvisable to watch Avalon if you haven't watched Ghost in the Shell (and pondered on it a bit). Avalon can be extremely heavy at times. This movie does not make you think; watching Avalon is like trying to decipher a zen poem, which I think can be done, but not through intellectual decoding.

In Avalon, a lone hunter in a virtual reality game shares her life with a basset dog, and all her activities seem to be centered around getting better in the illegal, dangerous game and getting food the dog with the money she earns there. The game is illegal because you can die playing it; "really" die in the concrete, bleak urban world that Ash, the main hero, lives every day. However, apart from the possibility of virtual death, the game offers a secret - the highest level, Avalon. The legendary Avalon is the "Isle of the Blessed", where King Arthur lies in eternal sleep. In the movie, it is a mystery, which haunts Ash ever since the deaths of her last player team.

The search for Avalon is depicted in the most beautiful cinematography. The plot is very symbolic and should be considered so; the search for the gate to Avalon can mean many things, and the nature of the quest changes as Ash is getting closer. However, like Ghost in the Shell: Innocence, the movie is heavy and long, and the characters engage in philosophical discussion every time they can. With all its beautiful cinematography, interesting acting (very automaton-like, but intentionally so), and a set of intriguing philosophical questions, this movie suffers from heavy-handed imagery and symbols, sometimes. Hard science fiction pushes the science as far as possible; Avalon is an example of hard cyberpunk, where the confines of the conceptual world dreamed up by the director are explored fully and unremittingly.

If you are ready to take a film not as only entertainment, but also a challenge to your thinking power, Avalon, like all Oshii's movies, is a thrill. However, beautiful, intellectually rewarding science fiction does not have to be longish and heavy, as Avalon is at times. Watch Ghost in the Shell before it, watch Ghost in the Shell: Innocence after it, and approach this movie at your most relaxed, for it to be a rewarding rewarding experience; it can wear you down, otherwise.

One more thing: if you're Polish, watch the Japanese dub with English subtitles. The Polish lines were translated literally from the Japanese, and they are very often almost gibberish (and the Japanese voice-acting is better, too). Also, do not let the fact that the movie's virtual world seems to be set in your local K-mart detract from your watching experience.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

Japan | Poland

Language:

Polish

Release Date:

20 January 2001 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Авалон See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$449,275
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital EX

Color:

Color | Black and White (Sepiatone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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