“The name and the face is all you have to have.”
- What is this movie about?
Light Turner, a bright student, stumbles across a mystical notebook that has the power to kill any person whose name he writes in it. Light decides to launch a secret crusade to rid the streets of criminals. Soon, the student-turned-vigilante finds himself pursued by a famous detective known only by the alias L.
- Why should you absolutely NOT watch it?
First of all, skip this disappointing movie and go watch the anime or read the manga that “inspired” it, for not finding a better word to describe what they have done with that masterpiece. This review is full of spoilers, so read under your own discretion. But before all of that, if you have not watched Death Note (nor read the manga), then you will probably like the movie. But as that is not my case, I am ready to unload!! Now, let’s get started!!
This story differs from the original one in many aspects. What has surprised me the most is that we don’t learn that much about Ryuk, we don’t know why he eats those apples nor do we witness any bond he might share with Light; which is really sad, as what they were playing between them was funny to watch and added a little bit of mystery to the main story. In here: nothing, they are two perfeclty strangers. The relationship between Light and Mia, it’s the realationship between two boring teenagers. That’s it. There isn’t the manipulative one that we read in the manga, and that made us hate Light even a bit and feel sorry for Misa; in here the hormones rule. On the other side, we have also the lack of relationship between Light and L. While in the original one, they are playing the game of the cat and mouse, here everything goes like in a CSI episode: too fast and to direct. (L doesn’t appear until almost half of the movie by the way). They have also erased some characters like Light’s mum and sister, why bother to pay more actors who would play characters that they didn’t know what to do with them?
Then the characters. Yes L is black, but who cares? That’s the least of our concerns. Light is supposedly to be smart, like really smart and a cold person. Here he is an average bookworm (kind of loser) and that’s it. He isn’t the cold-blooded murderer we know from the original manga (who only kills the bad guys, don’t forget) and who seeks justice whatever and whoever the cost might be. Who in their right mind shows the power of the Death Note to your school fling before you even realize the power you have in your hands? (Those are again the American hormones ruling over…). Next is Mia, who differs in everything from the original Misa. She is a bit of a cliché of the popular high school girl, or that is what we might think at the beginning of the movie, because 10 min into it we no longer care. It’s a shame that in the movie wasn’t included some details like that she is somebody that cames from outside Light’s world and that she has a Death Note of her own with her own Shinigami (that deal with the Shinigami’s eye, is really missing!!). Finally, there is L. He behaves like the L from the manga, until he starts to her hormonal and feeling too much, and he should not!! And one might think why is he jumping onto chairs, has he eaten a kangaroo? He should be as cold-blooded as Light, that’s why their fight was so awesome to follow in the manga and anime, to see who of the two would success and win over the other. In here: nothing, just teens. In this movie all characters are made in the USA style way too much, nothing worth remembering.
At some points in the movie they play it cool using cool music in the most critical moments of the movie, not critical enough for us by the way, and the whole movie has dark colours, which is fine. But that’s it. Nothing makes sense, even less that finale that is presented to us; and by the way, you will realize that the movie has ended because the credits start rolling, not because it feels like it has ended. And after you wake up, you will think which kind of end was that and how did they trick you to waste 1h 40min of your live watching this movie.
Worst of all? They are going to make two more movies!!
- Did you know?
– Right before going into production, Warner Bros dropped the project. Since Adam Wingard was passionate about the project, the studio let him move the film into another platform, with Netflix buying the rights.
– Adam Wingard read the “Death Note” manga comic to find a way to translate the story to an American environment: “Death Note is such a Japanese thing. It became about what do these themes mean to modern-day America, and how does that affect how we tell the story. What are the things that people chalk up to conspiracy theories? What kind of weird underground programs does the government have? How do those work in the world of Death Note?”
– Producer Roy Lee stated that the film is “definitely for adults. It has a zero chance it will get below an R-rating.” He also stated that it “will be one of the first manga adaptations that feels very grounded but still has fantastical elements.”
– Watari is a white Englishman in the manga and anime, but he is Japanese here, as he was in the Japanese animated films/TV series.