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Well, I watched Day Watch with my American girlfriend in a St.
Petersburg cinema a few hours ago, and we both enjoyed it. The
relatively huge success of of the first episode obviously allowed the
producers to pump more cash into this second installment, and it shows
throughout the film. The CG sequences are slicker and more impressive,
and so is pretty much everything else, including the consistently
confident directing. Even the fact that the premise is so annoyingly
weak doesn't spoil the fun as much as it did in the first film.
As a Russian though, the thing I liked best was the unmistakable Russian-ness of the movie. As far as film-making is concerned, I don't normally mean that as a compliment, but with Day Watch it is different. While it can definitely appeal to a wider international audience (my girlfriend, albeit a bit of a Russophile, is an indication of that), it is at the same time literally packed with all sorts of clever wordplay and references to various realities of Russian life, ranging from political satire to hilariously blatant product placement.
Even though I can enjoy a less obnoxious art-house film every now and then, on the whole I prefer clever commercial movies, and Day Watch falls into that category very neatly.
I saw Night Watch some time ago and I thought: Humm... What a nice movie. Interesting. Than I went to see Day Watch on the day of the premiere. Tickets had to be bought 3 hours earlier in order to get some. There was a crowd was so packed that even visiting the toilet was impossible. When the movie was starting I thought: well just the next over-talked-about movie, nothing special, BUT What I saw just left me astonished. I could never think such thing could happen. It is comparable by grandiosity to Titanic, and to StarWars by excitement, to The Matrix by plot. I have not seen such a thing yet. It combines Comedy, Action, Drama, Triller, Sci-Fy, Fantasy, Horror in such a manner that they bond without arguments. It's a MUST SEE!!!
Day watch manages to be something none of those Hollywood sci-fi saga type movies never could. It combines EVERYTHING in itself. Action, drama, suspense, CGI that's definitely better, and more believable, than in any of the matrix movies, a very intricate plot, that you have to follow carefully throughout the movie, wonderful acting and great dialogs. Well you'd say, lord of the rings has all of that too. The only thing that lord of the rings lacks is that, those three hours get a little bit boring at times. I don't know why, but i know i'm not the only one who feels that way. Day watch is three hours long too. After the movie, i went back to the ticket shop, and watched it again. That totals up to six hours of movie watching. And it wasn't boring even for a second. So why did i give it a nine? It suffers from the same thing the first movie suffered. The whole super power thing is not really explained, no one ever tells the audience how they work. You just have to live with it.
I must admit that before this film I was never a real fan of the
Watcher series. A Russian friend of mine advised me to watch Nochnoy
Dozor. I was impressed, but hardly blown away. So I went into this film
expecting another worthless sequel Hollywood seems to be churning out
by the dozen. But this is not Hollywood, and this is not another
worthless sequel. In fact, this is surprisingly amazing. Every aspect
of the original have been amplified up ten times until you can almost
feel the room reverberating. We're spoilt with so much cinematic impact
right from the start. The CGI landscapes are breathtaking and the epic
battles are just as panoramic as something out of a LoTR film.
The cast is kept the same as the original, all still pitch-perfect in their roles. I can't imagine anyone other than Khabensky playing our helplessly flawed hero. The premise might seem overused (Light versus Dark) but the background plot is actually very unique. I love how the leaders can joke around with each other when taking time off being sworn mortal enemies. And you can tell that the film is a book adaptation by how deep the story goes. Very few aspects are covered completely, leaving you to wonder what motives have some of the characters really got, and what was decidedly cut out of the film version. The soundtrack is one of the most erratic ones I've ever heard but works perfectly for this film. One scene a romantic love score, the next some adrenaline pumping heavy metal, immediately followed by a chirpy joke song. I honestly can't say much about the script since I don't understand Russian, but I feel that there are some in-jokes that would be hilarious if only I understood them. And that's the surprising thing about the film - despite all of its mind-blowing action, there is still time for the writer to fit in some matured dry humour!
I've now been thoroughly converted into a Watcher fan. The first thing I'll do is hunt down some English copies of the books. It feels to me as if the first film is just an introduction to these characters and leads up to the second film where the action heats up. A little surprised by the conclusive ending but can't wait to see what they'll do with it in the next film!
Phew! What an imagination these boys have!! This entire experience is
very dream-like in that the strangest things make sense in this
universe, you can flush yourself down a toilet, or perhaps drive a car
in a MOST unusual manner, or maybe slip into another dimension to
escape your enemy.
This is a world where dark ones and light ones live in an uneasy truce among the unsuspecting living. Once you get your head around this world's rules it starts to make sense and it becomes an action drama like any other, yet unlike any other. And for that, you should see it- but don't expect to understand it very much at first.. it helps if you saw the first film of this series- Night Watch, but that film sucked in comparison to this one in my opinion- and maybe that was just budgetary constraints but hey- it still sucked.
The good thing about having seen Night Watch is that it will make you like this one a whole lot more because you will understand what's going on and then focus on the plot and the action- which is quite an orgy of bizarre circumstance.
So suffer through Night Watch, then watch this and I think you will get a really unique experience out of this- it's fantasy, vampires, spell-casters and a very omnipresent Russia woven into this all. It's a must see because of it's uniqueness and to be forgiven for the occasional stupidity or clumsiness in transition it presents, it has a unique beauty that needs preservation just like a Russian. :-)
I must applaud the director for creating a scene with women and high action where you would have expected to see a man. When you see the movie- you will see what I mean, and it's just one of many of the clever and confounding -dream-rules apply- plot twists this thing will throw at you with total abandon.
Generally, sequels are inferior to their parent counterparts. However,
this is one of those great times when the sequel surpasses the quality
of the first and stands on it's own bearings. The plot line was well
written and the acting was absolutely fantastic! Watching in the native
language with the subtitles merely added to the essence of the story.
GO SEE THIS MOVIE!
But, if you have read the books these movies are based on, please do not compare. It's as if Lukanyenko decided, "This is how I wanted it as a book, but it should be this way for the movie." They are basically separate entities. Yet, both extremely satisfying. You will not walk out of the movie saying, "The book was better than the movie," because you simply cannot equate the two. And if you haven't read the books. READ THEM! It is very interesting to see the absolute contrast of the author's ideas on paper and on film.
My first piece of advice before watching this film would be to make
sure you see Night Watch first. This certainly isn't a trilogy that you
could watch out of sequence.
But for those willing to start at the beginning this is one of the most rewarding pieces of cinema you'll ever see. The CG is awesome, the acting first class and the direction of Timur Bekmambetov is breathtaking (a point not lost on Hollywood with him signing up to direct his first English language film).
The ending of the first film is taken a step further and knitted together beautifully with the second, keeping you gripped with questions and answers from start to finish. In fact the pace was so good I barely noticed the fact that it was 3 hours long.
The only things that confuse me about this film is where can they possibly go with Dusk Watch..... and could it be even better.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Damn, reading all those positive comments, I really wonder if I saw the
Let me first start off with telling you that I was really astonished by the first movie, "Night Watch". Sure, it had its flaws, but still, it looked great, it was refreshingly original and most of all - it was atmospheric. To sum it up in a short statement: It left me longing for more.
Then I watched the sequel, "Day Watch", and I just didn't get it... all I could think was: God damnit, what the hell went wrong there? "Day Watch" was nothing but flaws. The worst problem of it is probably that it has one of the worst scripts I came around in a long time... there's simply no point to it (and no, it's not that I wouldn't have understood it). And what is so bad about that is the fact that it not only gives not a damn about the novels it should be supposed to be based on - it also totally ignores its predecessor. I've somewhere read that after Fox bought the rights to it, they urged the whole story into an early termination. As a result, "Day Watch" is just a total mess.
Part one succeeded in establishing a dark, aggrieving setting with more or less strong characters and ended with a bunch of prophecies that really pronounced some major threats to come in part two... But honestly, guys, what DO we have there? It's a huge mess of story lines (some finished, some not) that really do not help to advance the plot in the slightest. The characters are reduced to bystanders (like Bear) in the best case and to total clowns in the worst (hey, what exactly does Anton do in the last hour of the movies? He totters around drunk... what happens to Olga? What happened to the threatening presence of Zavulon? And, damn, why does Yegor never show any sign of becoming the great, fate-turning wizard that he's foretold to become?) Other characters get way too much screen-time, only to get an opportunity to establish a goofy romance or show some flesh... and what's the parrot guy doing in it anyway??? It is A TERRIBLY SCRIPTED MOVIE. Face it. The apocalypse is the result of a toy-ran-amok? It's not what I expected. Definitely not.
What's maybe the worst thing for me is that there are certain signs that point to all this having happened on purpose. There are at least two scenes (shower, anyone?) that are so horribly cheesy that there's actually only one word to describe it: Camp. Now, I certainly can take a little bit of camp once in a while, and I also did like the humor in some of the scenes in part one (and you could even argue if there were not some camp aspects in that as well) - but all in all, "Night Watch" was more or less serious in it's tone. "Day Watch" is not camp in the clever sense - it's just goofy. It's not fun. It's out of place there, I think.
In fact, I thought the movie was so different from part one - and sadly, in all the wrong points - that I asked myself how it was possible to send it all down the gutter like that. I thought that maybe the studio or the director got in a fight over something and either one of them tried to pay it back in that way to the other, or that somebody lost a bet or so there, or... I really don't know. I just can't understand it. And also can't understand why they more or less had it end in a way that there's no sense in really making a part 3 anymore... Guess that's the only good thing I can say about it: After that disaster, I'm actually glad that there maybe will be no movie to follow.
(And even if I have to disappoint all you Slavophil guys out there who are just proud to finally have a cool movie you can show to foreign audiences: Good special effects and the state as a sequel to a good movie doesn't make this a good movie. I'm afraid so.)
Let me say first and foremost do not even think of viewing this movie
unless you've seen the first film. Simply put this movie just starts
and goes, assuming that you've seen the first film. There are no
reintroductions, just forward motion so be prepared, see Nightwatch.
Picking up some time after Night Watch ends this film concerns two parallel stories Anton's search for a means of righting all that has gone wrong since he joined the Watch, and his framing for the murder of one of the Day Watch. The two things are not of course, that far apart as everyone soon finds out.
This is epic story telling and it covers a great deal of ground. Do not blink or go to the bathroom with out being able to pause this since this moves like the wind. Unfortunately even with close attention a good deal of the plot is going to be clouded. There are lots of characters, lots of plot points many carried over from the first film (which in retrospect I should have watched before I dove into this film). You can fee the film's origins as a novel bleeding off the screen giving this version of Moscow a very real sense of place.
The action and craftsmanship of this film is almost without equal. The set pieces are spectacular, there are things in this movie to make your jaw drop open (the influx of American money can be seen on the screen in sequences that top the first film). The cast is amazing, creating some really good guys and some vile bad ones. Its first rate all around.
I really did like this film a great deal, though I am a tad disappointed. I don't know whether its the fact that the story is too big for its two and a half running time, or if its the fact that it doesn't go where I expected it to go. I think I'm going to have to see it again, preferably when I can see this not long after the first film.
If you saw and liked the first film see this. If you weren't crazy about the first film you may want to try it. If you haven't seen the first film see that first.
After reading the book trilogy I was looking forward to these movies. As in any adaptation, not everything makes it the screen. The movie was OK, I like the supernatural subject matter so I was able to stomach watching the whole movie. What drove me crazy is the translation!!!! I speak Russian and the subtitles were totally off. I understand that some things don't translate literally but in some parts the subtitles had nothing to do with the words that the actors spoke. If anyone is in the industry, can you please enlighten us on the process of how the subtitles come about??? Do the people at FOX think that there will be no Russian speaking people watching the movie?
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