A while back, I found a song from YouTube, which was from the soundtrack of a movie known as Avalon. It seemed cool, so I decided to watch it eventually, and now I did.
Initially, this movie was a lot harder to find than I thought. It’s not on any streaming services, and finding a physical copy seemed to be impossible. So the only way to watch the movie was to… utilize my skills to locate a copy. And eventually I did. While I was looking though, I found some interesting information about the movie.
Here’s the original Japanese trailer for the movie:
First of all, it was released in 2001 as a collaboration between several Japanese studios and Polish producer Deiz Production, with several members from the 1995 Ghost in the Shell participating in the production, such as director Mamoru Oshii, writer Kazunori Itō, and composer Kenji Kawai, who by the way, does a killer job with this film’s tracks, primarily its theme song, which is SOOOOOO GOOOODDDDDDDD OMGGGG.
Now playing: Avalon Theme (Extended) from Avalon
At this point though, I’m just sort of reciting the Wikipedia article, but it is interesting to see a production with a collaborative effort like this, I’ve never really seen that before. While a chunk of the team is based in Japan, the cast is all Polish and filming was mostly done in Poland. The Polish Armed Forces even allowed the crew to borrow their equipment for filming.
But anyways, on with the review. (I won’t write a synopsis so just read it online or watch the movie.)
Overall, it’s… okay.
I think that while the film is kinda cool overall, it generally feels somewhat unfocused sometimes and the plot is really hard to keep track of. Not only that, but while the world shown does have a unique look to it that can be cool at times, the dull color palette present in the movie becomes somewhat of an eyesore, which I do get makes the change to the colorful world at the end a very drastic and surprising change, but it’s still annoying for me. And considering only like half of the movie is in Avalon, there’s somewhat of a lack of worldbuilding, which leaves me wondering why are people playing this game, how is this game incorporated into society, and, if this game is illegal, why are there posters for it literally everywhere like it’s just sort of confusing to me.
Ash herself is kind of a blank slate of a character, and doesn’t really have any crazy depth, other than that she was in a team called Wizard and that she left after a mission went wrong, but it all feels disconnected.
Her character kinda reminds me a little of Major Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell… In fact, this whole movie does. It feels like they tried to do another futuristic cyberpunk movie about computers and stuff and just changed it up a little. Hell, the intro credits sequence feels ripped right from Ghost in the Shell, just with a color palette change.
I think what this movie does GOOD is, first of all, the soundtrack is pretty neat, good job to them on that regard. I think the ending part where it changes the palette to a full color spectrum is really neat too, but I’m half and half on it, as I mentioned earlier. I also think that the movie being in Polish instead of Japanese sets it apart a bit more from other movies, since a lot of cyberpunk worlds we see depicted in media are usually in countries like Japan or the US or whatever, so having something else is a bit more refreshing and also gives actors and actresses in that region more opportunites to shine. I think the acting was pretty alright, especially from the main character.
So while this movie has a lot of downsides to it, it’s also good too in some parts. It’s in the middle for me basically. Do I recommend it? Ehh, I mean if this sort of story is your thing, and you can bear some of the issues I mentioned, sure I guess, but I’m not going out of my way to say this is some masterpiece or something, it’s really not.
Watching and talking about obscure content
I think that doing this sort of thing is really good for you honestly because when you consume more mainstream content, you already have a preconceived bias of whether something is good or not, usually from word of mouth, or from watching reviews or something. So I think that watching more obscure content like this really lets you create your own opinions and for me, being into wanting to write and draw and all that, I might also get some ideas and inspiration from content that’s not mainstream.