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A view on Hi-def DVDs by Gary W. Tooze
Day Watch 'Unrated' (Dnevnoy dozor aka Дневной дозор) [Blu-ray]
(Timur Bekmambetov, 2006)
Review by Gary Tooze
Twentieth Century Fox
Feature Runtime: 2:25:48
Feature film disc size: 40.2 Gig (dual-layered)
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: September 9th, 2008
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Video codec: MPEG4-AVC
Russian: DTS HD Master Lossless 5.1
• Commentary with Director Timur Bekmambetov
• Making of (26:08)
• Russian and English trailer + TV Spot
Product Description: This sequel to the Russian film NIGHT WATCH centers on an epic battle between forces of good and evil. An uneasy truce has kept the armies at bay for centuries, but that peace is about to end, and it will pit vampires, psychics, and witches against one another. Both factions, the Day Watch and the Night Watch, have beings of extraordinary power called "Great Others," and if these two people meet, a supernatural war will begin. Anton Gorodetsky (Konstantin Khabensky) finds himself torn between his son, the dark side's Great Other, and the woman he loves, the champion for the Light Others. DAY WATCH (DNEVNOI DOZOR) explodes in the mind-bending space between THE MATRIX and UNDERWORLD....
The Russian domestic blockbuster Nochnoi Dozor (Night Watch) was an adaptation of the first half of the Sergei Lukyanenko novel of the same name (actually a set of interlinked novellas). This follow-up has to finish the plotlines of the first volume and adapt the two remaining entries in the series (Day Watch, Twilight Watch). It’s an epic stretch, even with a ‘previously…’ montage to recap the story so far. But director Timur Bekmambetov confidently assembles the complicated plot, with its myriad bizarre characters (there’s a sub-plot about a vampire chef and his mixed-up son, not to mention the possibility that the heroine of the first film will evolve into a ‘Great Light Other’), and rushes towards a satisfyingly apocalyptic finish in which Moscow (perhaps the world) faces destruction as metaphysical war breaks out and the fate of all reality depends on a particularly bizarre MacGuffin.
It’s a rich film, as good at staging amazing car stunts in the snowy Moscow streets (and up the side of buildings) as making wry humour of a sex-switch body-swap plot strand. When the CGI cuts in for the devastation, it gets a bit Highlanderish - you’d think all these arch-sorcerers would come up with more imaginative spells beyond simply zapping each other. The major achievement is that it establishes its own tradition - very specifically Russian in cultural reference and post-Soviet noir look, but with the energy and pace of Hollywood.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Like it's predecessor, Night Watch, Day Watch is filled with some striking visuals - and it doesn't seem to drop a molecule in mimicking the visual splendor produced by the first film in 1080P. Some differences that I noted were that Day Watch shows more healthy film grain in spots. Colors and detail continue to exhibit great strength without digital enhancement. Detail, driven by the 40.2 Gig of space on a dual-layered Blu-ray, produces some mesmerizing results. Noise exists but it is quite minor and only really visibly intrusive in a few spots. This appears to be the theatrical cut of the film, unlike Night Watch which was the 'international version'. There is no English narration (unless that DUB is chosen) and no credit/title cards in both English and Cyrillic. I think this transfer produced and even more film-like image than the previous effort on Blu-ray. It really is quite spectacular and I love the touch of grain.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Audio & Music:
September 8th, 2008
Introduction: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be
it, but film will always be my first love and I list my
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Gary W. Tooze