Night Watch, the Movie, Quite a Letdown

Nochnoy dozor (Night Watch in English) was an excellent book by Sergei Lukyanenko. Night Watch the movie (in it’s original Russian, no need to watch a bad dub) is a mediocre movie that’s a horrible letdown from the novel it’s based off of.

Honestly, I’d say to give it a pass unless you want to see how badly a book can be translated into a movie.

The plot changes are drastic and largely unnecessary. One of the major ones is even listed as a “glitch” by Lukyanenko in his comments.. how on earth you glitch a major part of your adaptations plot is beyond me.

If you’d like to see the array of differences check the movie listing out over at Wikipedia.

Acting talent for the movie isn’t all that bad, casting is alright, with characters fitting in with their descriptions from the novel well enough. It all really comes back to the plot being a horrible adaptation that really chops the heart out of the story.

Read the stories (although I found Day Watch to be a bit odd and that it didn’t fit well with Night Watch/Twilight Watch) but give the movie a pass. Or catch it on broadcast TV.. this one’s not even worth a rent. I’ll post if Day Watch (the movie) is any better when I pick up a copy to check out.

Just Read Outlaw Nation

Just read Outlaw Nation by Jamie Delano, Goran Sudzuka, and Goran Parlov. It’s essentially a classic meandering American tale written by a British writer to show what he saw in our country on his travels. It misses a lot of the veneer and really cuts to the heart of the States.

Also, the storyline proves to be a bit prophetic what with the clamp down on American civil liberties in the wake of 2001.

Outlaw Nation illustrates the death of the American Spirit in pursuit of the American Dream, to steal a line from the liner notes. That’s truly the best way to phrase it, and an interesting perspective you don’t often get in native tales.

The story follows Story Johnson, a zonked out ex-writer and member of the somewhat extraordinary Jones clan. The Johnsons are a particularly long lived specimen of American that started out from a brutal act in the Old West and carry on the raucous Western spirit. Even in the face of encroaching government intervention and the new world order.

Almost poetically, Americans aren’t portrayed as being good or bad, and are mostly (seen through the eyes of our character, a native son) our own worst enemies.

Even though the yarn raps up early the story romps at a good pace and satisfies. As the author states, in light of the events happening in the real world post-publishing, it comes off a lot cleaner than he had intended.

Grab a copy, it’s a good read.

Raymond E. Feist’s Into a Dark Realm

Raymond Feist’s latest outing to Midkemia, part of his DarkWar saga, builds up the storyline in interesting ways. The usual suspects are all there rendered in vibrant colors.

As a follow up to Flight of the Nighthawks and a part of his larger canon of works in Midkemia Into a Dark Realm really worked for me. Characters don’t tend seem overly repetitive or static.

Into a Dark Realm being the middle book in the series I can’t say much about the content without spoiling it. If you liked the previous book in the series this entry should hit the same bar of quality.

Anyone new to Raymond E. Feist’s work might want to start off with Shadow of a Dark Queen or one of the earlier series just to get a feel for the continuity. Plus they’re excellent pieces of literature in their own right.

Raymond E. Feist’s Flight of the Nighthawks

Feist is back with more novels set in his Midkemia world. Once again the Conclave of Shadows is fighting a threat to the various and sundry realms they service.

The over-arching plot in these books is fairly straightforward. There’s some evil personages, some gods, and a handful of good characters with foresight and a good view of the “bigger picture” attempting to thwart the evildoers machinations.

So the plot (although involving some well thought twists) doesn’t exactly break new ground in the Fantasy genre.

No, I think what keeps me reading Feist’s novel’s on a somewhat regular basis is that they’re just so damn well written. Each character comes off as being real rather than simply a device awaiting a certain point in the plot. Scenery is richly described. And the books chapters flow with uncanny pace . Not too quick. Not slow and grindingly mechanical.

So, the assassin’s guild is on the move with only Pug’s conclave to stand in there way. Revisit Stardock, Sorceror’s Isle, and Great Kesh in Feist’s latest work Flight of the Nighthawks.

An excellent read.

Nochnoy Dozor: Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko

Nochnoy Dozor (Night Watch in English) is the first book of Sergei Lukyanenko’s modern dark fantasy (trilogy?) centering around “Others” waging a war unseen in Moscow. The Others encompass warlocks, were-critters, magicians, and other fantasy elements.

So far, so good. It’s kept me reading straight through to the tail end of the book. His writing style is aptly compared to William Gibson’s as they both center the story neatly on the characters and wrench a well researched and colorful environment into place for them to play in.

Without giving away too much of the plot, the Night Watch (players bound to be good who work for furthering law and the light) monitor the activities of “dark” others at night. Were-wolves, dark magicians, and the like are all under their purview. The Day Watch is made up of the same chaotic evil-doers and monitor the activities of the light side during the day.

All this goes on under an truce arrived at after the last cataclysmic meltdown between the two sides. However, they still jockey for position and our protagonist is a pawn in the Night Watches latest machinations.

So give it a look. The translation is good and manages to convey the correct sentiments without destroying the unique Russian feel of the writer. It’s worth the 12$ or so the paperback goes for a good novel and a little insight into Russia at the turn of the century.

There’s also a movie.. but the book has quite a bit of intricate play between the characters. I’m not sure it’ll translate well to the big screen.