Saturday, October 5, 2013

Day Watch (live action movie), via Netflix

Day Watch (aka Dnevnoy dozor, aka Night Watch 2: The Chalk of Fate) is a Russian urban fantasy movie based on the second and third part of Sergey Lukyanenko's novel The Night Watch. I read The Night Watch years ago and remember liking it well enough, although apparently I didn't retain much, because almost nothing in this film was familiar to me.

So anyway, there are Light and Dark Others who maintain an uneasy truce and police each other via a Night Watch and a Day Watch. Anton is part of the Night Watch, and his trainee and love interest, Svetlana, has the potential to be a Great Light Other. Meanwhile, his son, Yegor, has the potential to be a Great Dark Other. While Anton and Svetlana are out patrolling, they go after a Dark Other who has been draining the life-force from his victims via a needle. The Dark Other turns out to be Yegor, who manages to escape.

The world is not meant to have both a Great Light Other and a Great Dark Other, and both sides are on edge. Anton finds himself on the run, framed for a murder he didn't commit, while Zavulon, the leader of the Dark Others, begins arranging things so that a war between the Light and Dark Others will be inevitable. The world may be destroyed, unless Anton can find the Chalk of Fate, a magical piece of chalk that has the power to change the past of whoever writes with it.

I wanted to like this movie. Unfortunately, I had lots of problems following along, even with the vague memories I had of the book. The characters seemed able to do just about anything, according to rules that were never really stated. It was cool stuff, but it all seemed to come out of nowhere. Teleportation via an ad board? No problem. Changing your face to look like someone else? Sure, just find a bit of snow. Many of the characters definitely weren't all-powerful, but I couldn't figure out what their limitations were.

Character goals also confused me. Zavulon seemed perfectly willing to destroy everyone and everything – what was the point of that? Yegor was a ball of anger. I thought, at first, that he hated his father, but later it seemed like he actually loved him and wanted him and his mother to be a family again. He seemed completely unaware of the difficulty that would pose, seeing as how Anton was a Day Other. Unless the implication was that he wanted Anton to give up being a Day Other and become a Night Other. Svetlana was disappointingly bland, considering how powerful she was. She loved Anton but wasn't sure how he felt about her, and she wanted to keep him safe. That was pretty much it. Olga, who barely spent any of the movie as herself, was more awesome and badass than her.

All in all, this movie was a disappointment.

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