AVALON (Japanese: アヴァロン, Hepburn: Avaron; vt GATE TO AVALON). Mamoru Oshii, director. Kazunori Itô, script. Japan, Poland: Deiz Production (with "Presenters") / Miramax (US distribution), 2001/2003. Dialog in Polish; English subtitles and on-screen words in USA releases (important with computer screens). See IMDb at link for more information on production and distribution. CAUTION: The "Alternative Versions" entry on IMDb notes translation issues in the Region 1 DVD (for North America), apparently with the DVD from Miramax in 2003.
Premise from Wikipedia entry:
In a near future, many people are addicted to Avalon [the name is from Arthurian legend], a military-themed virtual reality shooter. In the game, solo players or parties raid levels populated with AI-controlled enemies and opposing players. Winners are rewarded with experience points and in-game money, which can be exchanged for cash, allowing skilled players to make a living. As their brains interact with the game directly, Avalon places significant mental strains on players, and has rendered players catatonic in many cases.
Wikipedia on the video game:
In an unspecified era there is a forbidden online virtual reality video game. Players fight with modern, medieval and fantasy weapons in a world marked by war. In-game earned credits can be exchanged in real life for currency. Sometimes, usually with higher level players, a player's spirit may stay inside the game, and the body stays vegetating in hospitals in the real world.
Oshii describes his game as a "military RPG" [Role-Playing Game here (not — here — "Rocket-Propelled Grenade")]. However, it mixes elements of Role Playing Game [...] and First Person Shooter (FPS) (utilizing real firearms such as semi-auto pistols (Walther PPK and Mauser C96), sniper rifle (Dragunov SVD) and rocket launcher (RPG-7); and it also borrows from the Wizardry series Oshii played extensively during three years in which he was unemployed in the 1980s.
Mamoru Oshii also directed GHOST IN THE SHELL (animation, 1996), which see.
For most of the movie, the mise-en-scène in the primary world and in much of the game is what we might call "Stalinist post-Industrial," rather like East Germany in Cold War era Western films, or, relevantly, 1984 (film 1984) — the Game Master has some "Big Brother" about him as well — with some BRAZIL in the clunkiness of some of the technology. (Avalon is another matter.)
Note shots of the protagonist, Ash, in her induction helmet, which we might see as the superimposition of an almost steampunk cybernetic (plus a touch of the gladiatorial) upon the human — especially notable when near shots of Ash not paying attention to her dog, a basset hound doleful even by the standards of basset hounds; also notable when compared and contrasted with Ash with covered hair in the game. (In Medieval Romances and movies in that genre, a potential key reveal is when the victorious knight turns out to be a warrior maiden, lifting her helmet and shaking out her excellent head of hair.)
Especially given the literally colorful conclusion of AVALON, note the possibility of a positive view of cyberspace and VR as a reality superior to the material one, for which cf. and contrast such issues in W. Gibson's Neuromancer and Walter Mosley's Futureland collection, especially in the reading of Sandy Rankin, which see at preceding link.
Various parts of the VR-world of the film are fairly heavy with hexagons, with some other polygons.
Cited in Lars Schmeink's "Video Game Studies 101," which see.
RDE, finishing, 24Ap21