For what it’s worth, the movie did pique my interest in tracking down the source novels, although I haven’t managed to do so yet. Somebody please tell me that they have been translated into English.
As far as the movie is concerned… hrm. At first viewing, I’m vaguely puzzled by the effusive praise that has evidently been heaped on Night Watch. It’s a decent enough movie as such things go, with a heavy sprinkling of dramatic special effects (most of which were revealed in the trailer, so there are few surprises in that regard). The story postulates a secret reality just beneath the surface of our own mundane world, the destiny of which is in the hands of a long-prophecied Chosen One… the movie is conspicuously stylish and pompous, and features a number of frantic action sequences… hmmm. Where have I seen all this before, I wonder? It’s basically The Matrix as scripted by J.K. Rowling-- there’s even a mage called Zavulon, and I defy anyone to contrive a more Rowling-esque first name than that. His last name is never revealed, but it’s probably Gravenhall or Glowerbottom or Scrawlstaff or something.
Having said that, I enjoyed **Night Watch ** more than I did any of the Harry Potter or Matrix films, and I’m intrigued enough to check out the next film when it appears. I’m willing to concede that much of my confusion may result from the fact that this movie is the first of a series, and perhaps some of the plot threads haven’t been fully fleshed out yet (I hope). Even so, a lot of what goes on in the movie really didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. Things occur for no obvious reason; seemingly crucial background information is provided in irritatingly scattershot fashion. Characters appear and disappear without warning. It seemed to me as though huge chunks of the movie had been edited out at random.
There’s two almost entirely separate end-of-the-world scenarios going on simultaneously, which is kind of novel in a way, but it also means that none of the characters are very well-established or have the time to interact meaningfully. I think it’s reasonable to ask that fantasy film series based on apocalyptic prophecy limit themselves to one apocalypse per movie, in general. It would simplify things.
**Night Watch ** is an extremely visually engaging movie, but unfortunately about an hour and a half too short for the amount of plot it contains. I want more, dammit, more!