Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Day Watch

Despite the same preoccupations with destiny, responsibility and redemption as its predecessor, not to mention the same spectacular effects, 'Daywatch', the sequel to the Russian blockbuster, 'Nightwatch', just doesn't work.
The first film tried to beat Hollywood at its own game, using special effects more commonly seen in 'X-Men' or 'Independence Day', to tell a story that, though sometimes messy, nevertheless had a little more intellectual weight than its American counterparts. The new movie also provides a lot for the eyes. Unfortunately in the process it has forgotten about the brain. The storyline is a shambles. As before the forces of good and evil are locked in an uneasy truce, with the 'Dark Ones' trying to provoke a war believing that they have an edge. That edge is the boy, Yegor, a 'Great One', and the son of hero, Anton. A mysterious 'Chalk of Destiny' is added to this already heady brew.
Despite having numerous possibilities open through its cast of strangely talented characters, 'Daywatch' continually introduces more implausibilities whenever it feels like an effect coming on.
On the plus side, the characters are all generally likeable, even the villains. Zuvalon, the Lord of Darkness, is hardly Lucifer material with his thinning hair and naff line in pink shirts, but he's rarely less than charming. Particularly after the first film, you never doubt he's capable of winning, showing a lot more entrepreneurial zeal, than his more humdrum, 'Gas and Lighting' adversaries. Still Gesser, Lord of Light, though solid and stolid, seems like a nice boss.
Anton, the ostensible hero of both movies, is something of an enigma. When we first encounter him at the start of 'Nightwatch', he is a pathetic geek of a youngster trying petty magic to get back at the girlfriend who left him. It is ironic that such trivial motives end up threatening the fate of the planet, but then sin in one's personal or public life is catastrophic in these movies. When he awakens to his psychic gifts, however, he blossoms into the Nightwatch's best agent, though exactly how is a mystery. Certainly he doesn't seem to change much from the initial, weak-willed geek, continuing to bungle things, not least in his relationship with his son. Yet for all his flaws he still commands immense love, loyalty and forgiveness from his comrades. Perhaps it is because of his bungling that this is so, as for all his supposed powers, he is very much an everyman.
The ambiguity of character though becomes a mess in terms of plot, and 'Daywatch' is a big disappointment. Even fantasy must have its rules, but this film seems to make them up as it goes along. Ludicrous scenarios are thrown in without rationale, such as the extended body swap sequence, when all the audience really want is to get on with it. Such a shame.
No 'Nightwatch', this 'Daywatch' is sadly not worth a watch.

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