Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Ночной Дозор (2005)

English title: Night Watch
Dir: Timur Bekmambetov
Release: Rumored January 2006 US Release
Language: English and Russian with subtitles.

I was able to catch a way advance screening of this film and I was quite impressed by the use of CGI effects and the overall story. The film is an adaptation of the beloved Russian Sci-fi Fantasy novel by Sergei Lukyanenko, and is one of the first big budget special effects films out of Russia. After much searching Valium, has not been able to find an English translation of the novel, which is a shame because I would really like to read it.

The Story

Thousands of years ago the forces fighting for light and dark agreed to a truce, establishing a balance between the two powers. Now in modern Moscow, there are still soldiers that fight for each side within the terms of the truce with the light patrolling the dark and the dark patrolling the light. In the world created for this story there are those who are in touch with the struggle between light and dark known as the Others. When an Other is created, they must choose if they will fight for light or dark, and thus their allegiance is created.

There is a prophecy that declares there will be an Other born who will choose light or dark and will offset the balance, once again starting the war between the two. This first installment of the trilogy introduces us to this chosen one and ends with his decision.

The Film

I was taken by complete surprise by this film. I had no idea what film I was going to be watching and I must say, I was blown away. I am a big fan of stories that involve mythical and magical creatures and their incorporation into modern society. From the first battle sequence to the last scene, I was mesmerized, almost too much to be able to actually run the film.

Bekmambetov’s use of CGI imagery is totally appropriate. Instead of the story relying specifically on the effects, they add artistic imagery that really helps set the tone of the film. I am also quite pleased to see that the use of big budget Hollywood style effects, did not remove the cold Russian filmmaking sensibility. I am excited to get a chance to see the next two films in the series, hopefully they will all make it to a US release.


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