Tonight, Maynard, Tague, and I went to El Toreador, et, and then walked across the street to the Empire to check out this Russian flick, Day Watch. Subtitled, save for the opening monologue voice-over (which was okay).
A couple thoughts:
First, if I had seen this before I wrote Nexus War, it would most assuredly have affected it to a near-insane amount.
Second, this film is what I wish the second and third Matrix films had been.
Now, that being said, let me move on.
The film is one of the most intensely surreal plot-driven experiences I’ve seen in a long, long time. This is both good and bad. I think that, had I been raised in Russia, a lot of it may have made more sense to me or felt more “natural” – I am not steeped in Russian fairy tales (other than “Baba Yaga,” and I’m really only aware of that because of the 1st Edition Dungeon Master’s Guide).
I have this same experience watching a lot of Japanese films, too: they are drawn from different culture backgrounds. I expect that a film like The Matrix, with its leaden messianic symbology, would be almost as surreal to people raised in predominantly non-Christian societies; it is only because Americans grow up being surrounded by messiah stories (e.g., “Superman”) that it makes sense and feels natural. We know how the story is going to play out: the chosen one will at first reject his power and then lose someone/something he cares about, thus learning that his power is important. He’ll then accept it, and become a hero, sacrifice something, and then lead his people out of
Egypt Tattooine Krypton Rivendellwherever to Israel Narnia Shell Beach the promised land.
For example, there is a bit with a parrot who is also an assassin. You know – large green bird, likes crackers and chicks named “Polly.” That kind of parrot. And the parrot can magically transform into Graham Norton. And he has a toy car (like, you know, a *toy car*, like a Matchbox) that he can get inside and drive around Moscow in. The car is decorated in urban pimp circa 1996, and when he’s in it, it’s just like a real, non-toy car.
And all of this makes sense somehow.
The fact that the assassin is a parrot has no real relevance to the plot at all. It’s just, you know, kind of cool. It sounds stupid, but it really comes off well. The film is riddled with weird, surreal things like that, and they play in the context of the film but if you step back, it’s kind of this series of “WTF?” moments.
Maynard described it as a “plot surrounded by a music video” and that’s pretty apt.
This is apparently a sequel. They set up a bit to explain it in relation to the first film, but I bet it would have been smoother if I had just watched that, too. Maynard had; he was able to fill us in on any necessary details we needed.
I enjoyed the film a great deal, but I’m hip to weird shit like that. Plus: several totally hot Russian chicks.