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The Asian ApertureAvalon
POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, April 29, 2012    Share

Director Mamoru Oshii creates an interesting Sci Fi extravaganza for his 2001 movie called Avalon. Oshii is the genius behind the anime classics Ghost in the Shell and Patlabor. I first heard of Oshii after reading William Gibsonís Neuromancer back in the early 90ís, when I was fresh out of high school. I was looking for good cyberpunk movies and saw Ghost in the Shell.

Avalon tells the story of a virtual reality video game that players sit in a chair and use headsets, attached with wires, to become immersed into the game. The game reminded me of the Call of Duty series where players form teams and engage in various military operations.

The central character in Avalon is Ash, a tough no nonsense female that knows how to use big guns. Despite being macho she does have a soft side when she comes home to feed her Basset Hound or when she spends time listening to the rants of an annoying friend. Ash is played by Malgorzata Foremniak from Poland. In fact, Avalon is a collaboration between Japan and Poland.

Oshii gives Avalon a highly stylized look by contrasting the exciting world of the game with the bleak and poverty stricken world outside the game. It is a crumbling city with low rent apartments and disgusting gruel that people want in line for just to stay alive. Oshii uses sepia tones to give this city a dreadful look and to separate the virtual world from reality. With such a depressing city to live in, it is no wonder that most people prefer playing the game for escapism.

The visually stunning aspects of Avalon are in the game play. While much is learned about the characters in the slow moving reality scenes, the gaming world is filled with brilliant action sequences. Players use various weapons, mainly guns, to fight against other players and conqueror End Level bosses. The main point of game play is to gain experience points and rise through the hierarchy. Along the way players earn credits that can be exchanged for currency in the real world.

Ash spends time outside the game trying to understand what it all means. She goes out and buys books on King Arthur to learn more. She also spends time with a guy that she used to play on the same team with. She also visits an old friend in the hospital who is an Unreturned. As stated in the prologue, ďThe game has its dangers. Sometimes it can leave a person brain-dead, needing constant medical care.Ē

Ash knows the risks and still she pushes herself to move up the chain. The game itself is naturally addicting because of the adrenaline rush it creates. I donít want to say too much about it because Avalon is best experienced and discussed with those who have already seen it.

If you like good Sci Fi or you are a retro fan of 90ís era cyperpunk, then check out Avalon. Avalon didnít have much of a chance in the US market due to a limited release. It did extremely well in Europe.

Highly recommended
5 out of 5 Stars

"The Asian Aperture" is ©2012 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2012 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.

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