A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Day Watch (Dnevnoy Dozor)

November 3, 2010

Day Watch (Dnevnoy Dozor)

Wow. I hadn’t seen this movie before, but after watching Night Watch again the other day I was extremely curious to see how this movie worked. Night Watch leaves a lot of loose ends and unanswered questions and ends on a bit of a downer, so where would this movie take the concept? I have to say that I was completely blown away. This is one of those amazing and rare sequels that surpasses the original in just about every way while staying faithful to the world and characters created by the first one.

The story continues to follow Anton Gorodetsky and the ongoing uneasy truce between the forces of dark and light. At first I was reminded of nothing so much as Hellboy 2 – the opening of the movie introduces a major plot device that has the power to literally re-write fate and you know that it’s going to be heavily involved in the plot of the movie. But once we got back on the streets with Anton it became clear that there was a whole lot going on here, and that it blended very well with the first movie. Anton is meant to be training a new recruit to the light named Svetlana – a woman who not only has vastly superior powers to Anton, but has deep feelings for him as well. Right away the two of them have a confrontation with the Great Dark One – the young boy Yegor whose fateful choice at the end of the first movie was manipulated by the head of the Day Watch, the powerful and influential Zavulon. It seems that Svetlana has power equal to the boy – which means that a major confrontation between Good and Evil is brewing.

One of the things I most enjoyed about this movie was the sense that Yegor, Svetlana and most of all Anton are all pawns in a long game being played by Zavulon and Geser. The machinations of the two warring sides as they attempt to manipulate people into the positions they want them in are intricate and fun to watch. This movie adds a lot more than that into the mix though. It develops the world a little more clearly than the first movie did – particularly demonstrating the nature of the Gloom and how it is used by experienced Others as opposed to the inexpert fumbling of Anton in the first movie. It provides the missing back story for Olga and integrates it into the plot of this movie. Every character from the first movie appears here and most of them in expanded roles. Olga is extensively involved in her attempts to protect Anton and Svetlana. There’s a whole parallel plot involving Anton’s vampire neighbor Kostya and his father, which turns out to be linked to the overall themes of the movie. We get to see a lot more smarmy scheming from Zavulon as he works to end the Truce and, so it seems, the world.

Another thing this movie cleverly adds to the mix is a lot of humor. The first movie was a very bleak, dark, hopeless affair. This movie, on the other hand, is almost lighthearted at times. It has a lot of good laughs mixed in, which actually acts to make you care more for the characters and their world. There’s even romance here – something the first movie didn’t even touch on.

There’s a lot of big action scenes her and cool special effects. The apocalyptic battle at the end of the film results in a bunch of dramatic big-budget destruction of modern Moscow landmarks. It would feel like a Hollywood film if it didn’t have a quirky self-aware quality and a deeper message woven into the movie. If the first film is a contemplation on the nature of free will and how choices are made for us then this movie is about regret and the desire to change choices already in the past.

So there you have it. A big-budget effects laden movie that involves humor, romance, deeper issues, cool plot twists and even a murder mystery of sorts. With a spectacular climactic battle and apocalyptic destruction. That manages to tie up all the loose ends from the first film and lest us see more of all the characters and the world we enjoyed from the first movie. As I said: I was blown away.

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November 3, 2010 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , , , , ,

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