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.

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.