Avalon (Japanese film)

From Academic Kids

Avalon is a Japanese/Polish Science Fiction film by anime-director Mamoru Oshii. It was released in 2001. The name of the film originates from the island Avalon in the legend of King Arthur.

The film is set in a bleak future, where the population is hooked on an immersive virtual reality video game called Avalon. Despite its popularity the game can be deadly, leaving players' bodies catatonic in the real world. One player of the game, Ash, hears of a secret level hidden within Avalon. The film follows her quest to find the level.

The film's colour palette is mainly sepia tones, helping to blur the line between the real world and that within the game itself. The film eventually introduces coloured imagery and the effect is striking.

The film is typically Mamoru Oshii styled in its pacing and editing. It is relatively slow paced, reinforcing the mundane nature of the world Ash lives in and highlighting the excitement of playing the game. The film also features a basset hound, a breed of dog common in Oshii's films.

The films score is by regular Oshii collaborator, Kenji Kawai.

The film was co-produced by a Polish film company, starred Polish actors and filmed with Polish dialogue. The film received only limited release in North America (with most of its fanbase created via the circulation of bootleg DVDs imported from Asia) until Miramax released it on DVD in late 2003. The North American version has added narration to make it easier for Americans to understand the plot, which fans of the original say ruins the atmosphere of the movie and insults the viewers.



In a distant future there is a new form of video game. In a kind of virtual reality, players fight with modern, medieval and fantasy weapons in a world marked by war. Especially in higher levels the spirit of the player may stay inside the game, and the body stays vegetating in hospitals in the real world.

When Ash gets challenged by a better player, she makes up a team to get to a secret game level named "Special A".

The Game

The game Avalon is a combination of concepts from virtual reality, role playing games (RPGs) and video games. Players wear headsets which immerse their senses in the game world. Within the game players participate as a character of a certain class, similar to RPGs. Upon successfully completing a mission, their skills 'level up'. Players play together in groups called parties, another concept common in RPGs. To complete levels within the game, players must defeat end of level bosses as found in video games.

As an interesting first, this movie features the appearance of lag, a gameplay error due to network transfer slowdown often encountered in online games. As players in Avalon are hooked up directly to the game, they react with violent sickness symptoms to lag.

Similar films

The film's concept of a virtual reality world is similar to those in The Matrix and Existenz.

Visually, the film is close to titles like Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Brazil and the Animatrix anthology's animated short A Detective Story, where somber colors are used and technologically-advanced equipment has anachronistically old-fashioned interfaces.

External links

fr:Avalon (film, 2001) pl:Avalon (film)


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