2007 has been called the summer of Sequels, with Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Pirates 3, Spiderman 3, Shrek 3, 28 Weeks Later, Ocean’s Thirteen, Evan Almighty, and so forth. There are more sequels than you can shake a stick at, and few of which have faired as well as the originals did critically. Considering all of this one would be discouraged, right?
Well last week a Russian fantasy movie based on a series of books, somewhat akin to The Lord of the Ring novels, was released. The second movie in the series, Day Watch(or Dnevnoi Dozor in it’s native Russian), continues a year or so after the first movie(Night Watch). While Pirates required you to remember much of the second movie, Day Watch does no such thing. Sure, watching Night Watch will help you understand a bit, but going directly to the theater and seeing Day Watch won’t leave you in the dark completely.
The movie itself is solid, and quite an epic. The story is nicely laid out, not too confusing that you made more sense of Pirates 3, and there wasn’t so much in the movie that it made Spidey 3 seems small. Much of the movie, despite not delving much into the abilities of the Dark and Light ones, shows off a unique look at magic within the movie’s universe. All of this ties greatly with the surprisingly well done visual effects used in the movie.
Each visual effect blends beautifully from faux to real nearly flawlessly without looking fake. Things like a Parrot turning into a human being in a cheesy 80s suit, or a flying crow shifting into a sword wielding magical warrior midflight seem of the norm. While high paced action scenes like a sports car driving along the side of a building, or a rain of small children’s aluminum balls destroying much of Moscow seem to out shine even the biggest budget titles. Surprisingly enough as well the usage of subtitles in the movie is one of the most dynamic additions to the movie. While they can often be a bore with other movies, Fox has used the addition of subtitles to interact with the movie’s actions and scenes in an entertaining easter egg hunt.
Sequels come and go, while some leave a sour aftertaste, but Day Watch just further sweetens the movie franchise. However, as entertaining as the movie is, you might have trouble finding it in theaters. Fox gave it a very limited release, with a mere 2 theaters in my native SoCal showing it. It might be best to wait for the wider release later this month, or even the DVD release.