Thursday, April 14, 2005

Tagline of the week: Courtesy of NightWatch

I just watched the trailer for the film Nightwatch, the first installment of a Russian horror trilogy.
The plot summary on IMDB reads:

“A fantasy thriller set in present day Moscow where the respective forces that control daytime and nighttime do battle.”

Truth be told I didn’t think the start of the trailer promised much more than a rehashing of elements we’ve seen in both The Matrix and Blade. Isn’t it sad how quickly we become desensitized and jaded with things? Remember the first time we saw the bullet time camera technique? It was mind blowing, yet we now regard it with as much amazement as we do a clever car commercial. There appears to be a lot of this freeze frame and panning of the camera, but as the trailer continues, it is definitely apparent the director has also worked hard to create his own original visual landscape, which while obviously inspired by other recent works, has an artistry of its own.

There are definitely a few FX shots in the trailer that are amazing, the likes of which I’ve never quite seen before. In particular I was struck by the sequence where a vampire looks at a little boy on the subway car and only sees his veins. I also thought the shot of the woman turning into a tiger was pretty amazing.

Nightwatch was released in theatres in Russia last July, but actually won’t hit screens here in the U.S. until this upcoming July. “Nochnoy Dozor” as its known in Russian, was written and directed by Timur Bekmambetov and was based on the novel written by Sergei Lukyankeno. A prominent Russian pulp novlelist, Lukyankeno’s most succesful works are trilogy upon which these films are adapted from. The three books in the trilogy are called “Night Watch”, “Day Watch”, and “Dusk Watch”. It’s obvious the man has a way with words.

On an interesting side note, Lukyankeno appears to be pioneering the next wave of focus groups. The author kept up a blog to get opinions on what his next book should be like, and is quoted by the Moscow Times as saying:

"I had a think about what the point of [LiveJournal] is for a writer," he wrote. "To argue with literary opponents? That's more fun to do on forums. To hear readers' opinions? Partly yes, but not every day. To read other people's blogs? Wonderful, but then why write your own? And this is what I decided: A writer needs a blog to write books."

I’m going give old Lukyankeno the benefit of the doubt here, and assume that the fact his quote makes no sense is primarily due to the fact that it was translated poorly. (how weird is it that you can read the Moscow Times on line, all in English?) I do, however, think it’s troublesome that the man believes that he can’t properly write his next piece without scads of opinions and input from his fans. Egads. It’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of what awaits us in terms of story structure of this trilogy either.

That tagline for this film is almost generic enough to slip by under my radar without getting picked apart in my latest tagline rant. Almost. I’m not sure if this tagline was imported from Russia along with the film, and it’s a language barrier thing, or if we can just chalk it up to those Fox Searchlights execs sniffing their rubber cement again, but the “In 2005” portion of this phrase has got to go.

"In 2005 our destiny will be revealed"

Everything up until this point implied the film had some sort of epic, enduring ancient feel to it. So what is it about 2005 that yields the historical culmination of the battle between good and evil? Nobody told me it was a leap year!? Besides, wasn’t the movie released in 2004 and won’t the trilogies span three years anyway?

What about “our destiny will be revealed.” That’s a little more timeless isn’t it, to think it might resonate beyond the six months of media blitz preceding the release. What I want to know is what happens when Blockbuster gets sent a poster to put on the wall to promote the DVD release. I can see it now. I walk in and see the poster, which at the bottom will read:

“In 2005, our destiny was revealed”

I guess my destiny was revealed, if my destiny is to perpetually return to the video store and be smothered by material for poorly marketed movies.

Anyone have some rubber cement I could borrow?


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