Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Night Watch (Nochnoi Dozor)

Used one of my free tickets to see this Saturday night. The integration of AMC and Loews is so far showing a few benefits, in that all the TV ads seem to be moved back before the advertised start time, and now the MovieWatcher card is usable in a whole lot more places so I can get rewards faster, but the folks at Loews theaters still don't seem to know how to react when confronted with MovieWatcher reward tickets. The guy at the ticket counter had to call a manager.

Not that this is unique; I remember people scurrying to figure out what was up with the late, lamented "Weekday Escape" tickets when presented with them.

Anyway, not a great movie, but it piqued my interest for Day Watch and Dusk Watch. Kind of the same reaction I had to Chronicles of Riddick - I can really take that movie or leave it, but it ended at a point that made me earnestly want to see where Twohy was going. I hear the director of Night Watch is attached to The Red Star, and I like hearing that. An Russian director spending a lot of American money on that property is sort of ideal. And it was a nice way to relax after a frustrating day of looking for shelves and stools for the new house and not finding anything that fit my needs and budget.

Night Watch (Nochnoi Dozor)

* * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 18 March 2006 at the AMC Boston Common #3 (First-run)

I'm not sure what to think about movies like Night Watch. I don't really find them satisfying while sitting in the theater, but when the film reaches its end, I really want to see what's going to happen next. I suppose that makes the film a successful "part one", if we assume that the commercial goal of a first installment is to make part two an even bigger hit.

Night Watch spends a fair amount of time setting up the story's world. It posits that people with supernatural powers, the "Others", exist in secret within the more mundane world. Hundreds of years ago, they prepared to meet in battle, but seeing that the armies were evenly matched, Geser (Vladimir Menshov), the leader of the Light faction, and his Dark counterpart Zavulon (Viktor Verzhbitsky) struck a truce, Night and Day Watches to police the opposing factions. Flash forward to 1992, where we meet Anton Gorodetsky (Konstantin Khabensky), whose attempt to hire the services of a sorceress reveals him as an Other. He chooses Light and joins the Night Watch. Twelve years later, while chasing a pair of vampires stalking a young boy (Dmitri Martynov), he stumbles upon Svetlana (Mariya Poroshina), a young woman struck with a curse rapidly growing toward the apocalyptic. To make matters worse, the Day Watch becomes involved when he kills one of the vampires, despite his claims of self-defense.

Read the rest at HBS.

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