Avalon: The Legendary Island of Unreality

The movie Avalon is confusing. The director deliberately blurs the lines between reality and the futuristic video game to the point where the main character, Ash, becomes overwhelmed by and absorbed into the game itself. Her desire to find her ex-teammate (and possibly former lover) Murphy fuels her rampage through the highest levels of the game until she is confronted with a choice, much like Neo from The Matrix. She can give up on the game and accept her status as an almost-elite player, or continue to the next level of the game, against the advising of her “Game Master” and other seemingly experienced people. She naturally chooses to continue, and finds that the last level almost exactly mirrors her own reality.

This brings up a whole slew of questions about the nature of the game and who controls it. Her mission in “Class Real” is to eliminate a virus that inhabits this alternate reality, and she finds that this virus is in fact Murphy. But how can he still be there when she saw his comatose body in the hospital of the real world? My skeptical brain immediately jumped to the conclusion that the Game Masters or (whoever is truly controlling the game) goes through this process with each player who transcends the limits of the normal game. Ash became so good that the creators had to eliminate her for the future of the game, just as they seemed to have done to any other player deemed “too good.” This would mean that Ash herself was the virus and Murphy’s role in “Class Real” was only to lure her there in order to ensnare her in the game permanently. From this perspective, the lines between realities are clearly defined: “Class Real” cannot be reality because Murphy is not embodied by the real Murphy’s consciousness, he is merely an illusion created by the Game Masters to trick Ash.

Interestingly, the place to which she is sent in the game is described as a heaven of sorts, a final resting place for legendary players. I imagine this place is much like the game itself, but a more advanced version like “Class Real,” adequate enough to the point where elite players would be entertained until presumably they awake from their comas in the real world. This suggests that the game is a prison similar to the Matrix that is being used by some unknown malevolent force to control humans. Being extremely good at the game may be indicative of a personality trait this force is intolerant towards, so these people are weeded out and isolated from the population.

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