Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide
The following blog has been approved for publishing because it serves the purpose of both the light and the dark. – The Nightwatch and The Daywatch
In Russia the movies Nightwatch and Daywatch (Nightwatch II in Russia), are considered big budget blockbusters. In the US they are more of cult movies. Daywatch was the first post-communist Russian movie to make over thirty million dollars domestically. That isn’t enough for an American producer to get out of bed for but back in 2006 in Russia it was big time news.
The low budget (compared to Hollywood movies) is kind of the movies charm. There isn’t Michael Bay level CGI, and the filmmakers know that. So they make the best of the effects they can afford and concentrate on story and character development.
In the movies and the books Moscow is the setting for a wainscoted world full of the Others, magical beings. The Others are divided between the Dark and the Light. In ancient times the Light and Dark went to war against each other, it was only resolved by a truce after a long and bloody conflict. The two sides developed their own police forces. The Light created the Nightwatch to enforce the treaty amongst the Dark. And the Dark has Daywatch to keep tabs on the light.
According to treaty neither side can rise above the other. So when the Light heals someone the Dark gets the right to curse someone. For the treaty to work there must always be a complete balance between the light and the dark. The Dark are not necessarily evil. They tend to be selfish and power hungry but not out and out evil. The Light tend to want to make the world a better place and care about masses but still when it comes to schemes and political intrigues they can give as good as they get.
If this sounds familiar to followers of the TV show Lost Girl, I get why. I never heard that Nightwatch has inspired LG but they are close cousins. The Dark and Light fae camps and politics seem to fit in right the Others.
The movies and most of the books are from the point of view of Anton Gordesky. An everyman member of the Nightwatch who should have never risen beyond a moderately powerful sorcerer, but destiny stepped in making him one of the most powerful magicians in Moscow. In the movies he is played by Russian mega-star Konstantin Khabinskiy.
Nightwatch is very eastern European, to the point that the books have a slight anti-American bias. The humor is often hit them over the head with a sledge hammer level. Such as all the Light others in the movie works at the electric company or the light company. A young other sucks out peoples life by sucking on a “Death” juice box. Life is the name of a top Russian juice maker. But despite this it still works for an American audience because there is something international in the concept of a magic cop hunting down rouge vampires.
Each book is basically three intertwined stories. The Movie Nightwatch is the first story in the Book Nightwatch, called Destiny. Daywatch (Called Nightwatch II in Russia) is the second and third story of the first book, Among His Own Kind, and All for My Own Kind. There are five novels in the series and several other shared universe stories too.
So with so much source material to tap into why aren’t their more movies? Well this time is truly is the dumb Amerikanski’s fault. Fox Searchlight bought the rights to distribute the Watch movies in the US, and made some money with a loyal American following. They then bought the rights to make the third movie it was going to be a big budget effects movie. But Fox shelved it when they decided it was too close to the story in the movie Wanted.
Directed by Timur Bekmambetov the same director of Night and Daywatch, Wanted is based loosely on Mark Millar’s comic book, about super villains winning and then hypnotizing us to think that heroes only existed in the pages of comic books. The theatrical adaptation was about mystical gunmen lead by a force of fate. The movie kept the same names but had as little to do with the comic book as, Wanted had to do with Nigthwatch. (Which for the record was only that director and that Konstantin Khabinskiy was in both of them)
Maybe that is a good thing. The watches are perfect little gems of low budget high action and Eastern European sensibilities. Sure a bb budget Hollywood blockbuster might be awesome but it also might be cringe worthy. Anyways since Fox owns the rights now, even the Russian’s are frozen out from producing their own product.
This has caused the fan base is dwindle (At least in the US). Five books are now availed in English, the sequels are good but don’t have the newness and fresh feeling of the first two. The two movies are now available on Netflixs but most people who would be interested in them have already seen them. So they become more novelty acts than anything else and relegating them to geek-obscura which is to bad considering that the world of the others surely has many more tales to tell.