Saturday, February 25, 2006

Night Watch

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I once had a Narrative Story Telling Instructor who said that if any of our short stories had anything to do with vampires we would get an automatic F for the class, and with good reason. Vampires are right up there with ninjas on the extremely played out list, but this film gets a B+ in my book and I'll tell you why. I went in thinking that the movie could go one of two ways. Either it would be a lame foreign vampire movie with all the cliches, or it would be an artsy new take on the whole vampire mythology, and I would end up enjoying it very much. I was very surprised by this film, and I'm glad to say that it leaned towards my latter suspicion.
The story starts out with the classic battle between light and dark. There have been beings living amongst humanity since the beginning of time called "Others." These beings each fall under one of three catagories: vampires, withces, or shape-shifters. It is the choice of every individual "Other" to join a side of the eternal war, the light side (good) or the dark side (evil). I thought it was interesting that the film starts off with both opposing sides in a thousand year truce where some are neighors and even friends with those on the other side. There is some bad blood amongst the two factions in the form of politics because each side has formed a sort of police force to watch the other side, and make sure that no one breaks the truce. The dark side has their Day Watch, and the light side has a Night Watch. Politics come into play when you find out that the Night Watch has some power over the dark side in the fact that dark siders have to be liscensed by the light side to turn a human into a vampire, or for witches to mettle in human affairs.
The film follows a man by the name of Anton Gordesky who finds out he's an other after a traumatic experience triggers his supernatural abilities. He gets recruited by one of the side's police forces, and has to make many difficult descisions in order to keep the truce. Things get shakey between the two sides after Anton makes a controversial descision while in a tight fix, and two big messes surface that only he can clean up. One is just another bump in the road in his line of work, while the other might hit really close to home.
One thing you'll have to keep in mind is that there are two films to follow after "Night Watch." Some of my friends found the ending to be a little too sudden, and some revelations in the story don't make complete sense, so please be aware this is only the first chapter of the story. I'm sure many things will come to light in the next two sequals. Another thing to watch out for is that this film is rated R for a reason; so don't bring the kiddies. There is a quick shot of a woman's breast in the movie, but it's not sexual. There is also a little violence, but not a whole lot.
I really enjoyed that the sub titles were animated to follow the action on the screen, and sometimes they were even up in the visuals rather than stuck below. I thought that was a great way to keep us slow readers involved in the action up top. I also enjoyed the artsy special effects of the film. Some of the effects might have been a little hokey as far as technical approach, but they were all still very visually dynamic. I also like that the Night Watch's uniforms kind of look like the Ghost Busters uniforms. I also found that there were some well placed light hearted scenes to give you a break from the intensity of the story. Over-all I would give this film a strong B. I'll definately be waiting in line when the next two films to come out.
You can go to the official sight here and watch a 2 1/2 minute quick view of the entire movie to get a feel of what it'll look like. Don't worry, the cuts are too quick for it to spoil anything in the story.

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