Death Note (2017)
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I normally like Netflix TV shows but movies lately have been really sub- par with this one being the worst I've seen from them.
This is a total waste of time and this movie should have never been made, it's an insult to the original Death Note (Desu Nōto). The plot was totally ruined since it was changed from the original, yeah they kept the premise but they decided it was a good idea to mix it up with stupid teen drama/relationship and a bunch of other nonsensical BS.
Go watch Desu Nōto instead if you haven't or if you have then watch it again!
Firstly i didn't know this was a movie until it was released on Netflix. I'm not going into detail, but there is a reason its a long manga/anime and not a movie.
Anyway, the protagonist isn't interesting, L is not interesting and the plot is garbage. They took all the good thing from the original and butchered it and made another bad American adaptation.
Everyone involved in this movie should be ashamed.
Save yourself the misery and never watch this.
Netflix's Death Note - SPOILER Review.
I believe a movie THIS bad deserves to be completely spoiled, if anything to be avoided like the plague.
Director Adam Wingard has achieved the impossible, he has taken the title of "Worst live-action manga adaptation" away from Dragonball: Evolution. DBE doesn't even come close to the complete disregard of source material this horrendous movie is guilty of.
Nat Wolff's Light Turner is nothing like Yagami Light from the manga. Light Turner is a bullied kid who starts his killing spree with a bully. Besides that he is a scarily child who is in way over his head with the book he's been bestowed upon so he reveals his secret to his High School crush, a cheerleader named Mia Sutton (Margaret Qualley), which we are supposed to believe that on the mere sight of the book becomes a raging psychopath that wants to kill everyone, and I mean everyone she feels like, and this was supposed to be the new version of Misa, right?
All the intelligence, all the cold and calculating aspects that made Yagami charismatic are completely gone, instead of Death Note we get "The Killer Diary of a Wimpy Kid."
But nothing compares to what's done to L. The famous detective who is also cold, incredibly intelligent, and astute, is horribly played by Keith Stanfield as a maniac, and frenzy detective vigilante of sorts. Too many times in the film he loses it and even comes close to murdering Light in cold blood, either by running him over with a car or by shooting him. That is something L would never do.
The book has about 70 rules, and they are revealed when it is convenient to the plot.
And not even Willem Dafoe's Ryuk can save this abomination, his character appears like 10 minutes of the film, and Ryuk is not a bored Shinigami anymore, in this version he is a sadistic god of death who enjoys seen people die.
Adam Wingard is a complete hack, someone who either did not understand the manga, or thought of himself better and more capable to tell this story than the original writers.
His movie is not even worthy to be called Death Note, it is barely worthy to be called a movie as it is an outright blasphemy to the manga and the anime. It is by far the worst live-action adaptation I have ever seen.
I rate it 1 out of 10, simply because I cannot rate it lower on IMDb.
I had to watch it hoping I was wrong, but I encourage you to stay away from this filth.
Prior to the film, I watched in about three days the entire Death Note series. Because I really just got into it and don't plan on watching the anime again soon, I don't consider myself a fan (never watched animes before, by the way), but I reckon it was a very clever series. At times it had its cheesiness, but still worked pretty well.
When the source material is well written, I don't think that departing from it is the right choice. The Martian proved that, for instance. Changching the plot should be always for the benefit of it, and not to overly simplify the story and to take out some of it core aspects.
Death Note's film adaptation chose this second route. I have the feeling that they didn't understand at all what was the series about. The anime mostly focused on L and Light's intellectual fight, battles of tricks and making one and another be unsure about what his intentions are. Ryuk (who I thought would be a practical effect and not CGI, as instead it sadly proved to be) had more importance. Truth is, this movie had also a very low runtime in order to cover up the plot well, it might have needed an extra 40 minutes (so a 2h 30m film), but it would have needed an entirely different plot.
Instead, when the movie finished, it turned out to be just a rushed sequence of events, most of which seemed incoherent if seen next to the anime, which was a very clever story. Ultimately, the film settles for a needless and overly bloody gore feast. The speed of this film is so fast paced that, by when I arrived to the 1 hour mark, I could not believe that we had forty minutes left. And I came to realise that nothing that happened felt relevant to the whole storyline. Death note should have been adapted in a slightly slower paced film, and had minimal gore (most of people died by heart attack). That wouldn't mean that it had to be necessarily a boring film, or a non-R rated one. The themes of moral ambiguity and killing powers make it anyways a very dark story to tell.
The only positive note I could find in all of this is that sometimes both L and Light's actor delivered scenes which made me suggest that they where up to the roles, if the original anime was to be followed. L sometimes used the anime character's same line delivery, Light seemed capable of behaving as a bloodthirsty, dark and evil character. Sadly, the movie didn't allow the actors to perform their characters rightfully. Williem Dafoe's voice sounded exactly like the original Ryuk's. That said, Ryuk appeared for about 4 minutes, so there wasn't much there.
Ultimately, this is the perfect example on how an adaptation of a good source material can simply suck. I recall only Eragon being such an unfaithful, unrightful and almost offensive adaptation to a very clever and deep story.
If you didn't like the Death Note anime or live action series, then there's a good chance you may like this.
Death Note is not meant to be turned into a movie, as the Japanese movies prove.
I cannot agree more with them. This is the view of someone who hasn't seen the original. But let me tell you this: it doesn't get worse than this. I don't even know where to start. Everything was just so off. The casting was ridiculous. Every character except Ryuk was just completely off. Acting was terrible, dialogues even worse. I can't even figure out how fake the character L. was. It just made me feel like crying, seeing how he took this role. It was so bad that I was asking myself at one point if I wasn't just watching some amateur high school movie made by students. My god... I could go on for ages about how terrible it was, and how much I am traumatized by this.
The only reason I rate this movie a 2/10 is because I really liked how they made Ryuk. He actually looked really good, and was the only thing that kept me watching this movie.
In the manga Light is an brilliant young man, with an opportunity to change the world and a desire to maintain a legacy and not get caught. We got a strong moral code and think that he is in the right ! Well, this new Light didn't planned anything ahead (expect the god awful deus ex machina at the end...), has a boring cliché teenage angst, kills people because that seems a thrilling thing to do with his girlfriend (more on her in a second), decides to stop at the first sign of trouble, and is incapable of being active but only reacts to things happening to him. He didn't even seems to think that the police might try to catch him.
The girlfriend (not in the source material, and it's easy to know why). Well, she doesn't have any kind of personality. she seems to live on instinct, with no moral code whatsoever. why it doesn't work ? Because she's supposed to be a part of Light, that made Light doubt and hesitate ! Now we have TWO empty main characters instead of one full-fledged brilliant one.
The narration, I know, I know, American critics find that lazy, cinemasins sins it, and most of the time narration is the worst... MOST OF THE TIME. In death note, narration is Light internal monologue, which is essential to understand this complex character who tries to be ahead of everything. It's the source of the tension in the anime and they took that away. Narration in Mr Robot is great ! It's possible you see !
Because of that, everything else falls apart, Ruyk isn't the big corrupting menace that Pollutes Light's moral code, he is just monster-scary.. and L, seems smarter then Light at every turn, (the dinner scene is the most revealing, did someone understand the complexity of both arguments ? )... instead of a brilliant cat-and-mouse we got a pair of teenagers way over their heads who tries to make-up a plan to escape from the police ! American adaptation don't have to dumb down every plot to an Halloween special of CSI !!!
And to my summary, why call the movie death note when you don't even understand the soul of the source material ?
Lingering "why ?" Thoughts : - the over-complicated weirdly irrelevant rules of the death note - L zero-in on Light the dumbest way possible (really ? the father on a press conference) - L knows exactly that the team has been compromised but didn't think to plan something to avoid that outcome - the useless love-story - the acting - the relationship between father and son
Why not make it as a series that could encompass the complexity of each character instead of a trainwreck of a movie ?
1.) Misa or as they call her in the movie "Mia" was more obsessed with the death note than Light and ultimately chose the death note over him.
2.) Light was an emo, who got bullied. Not a "perfect" person who viewed himself as a god.
3.) L was too emotional, jumped to conclusions, violent and just overall off-putting (not in the way he should have been)
4.) "Mia" is able to write in the death note, touch the death note, yet she is still unable to see Ryuk.
Now I could go on and on about the way in which this movie has incorrectly represented death note, but if we separate the anime from this movie then we still have a horrible film. The actors were god awful, I couldn't tell if the movie was being satirical or serious half the time. The CGI was not good. Things just felt over the top and goofy most of the time. The characters were not likable what-so-ever, just whiny teenagers who were mad at the world. Overall this film gets a 1/10 from me; if I could give negative stars I would. To those of you who want to spare yourself, don't watch this movie.
13. The faces and noises Light makes when he meets Ryuk for the first time and also when he and Mia are falling off of the Ferris Wheel.
12. Additionally, the background music playing while Mia and Light are falling, as well as other choice moments when they decide to phone in contemporary pop/rock. These moments belong in dog-food commercials somehow.
11. Death Note: the Soap? Since when was Death note ever about the melodramatics of teen life? It was like watching an episode of "Gossip Girl" put in a blender with Tim Burton artwork and pulsed once or twice.
10. L is a downright spaz. Especially when he goes Rambo when Watari gets Death-Noted into looking for L's records... speaking of which...
9. Watari gets Death-Noted into looking for L's records... not only is his actual and full name "Watari," but as per rules of the notebook he can be controlled by Light over the phone to do something before he gets gunned down.
... also speaking of Light...
8. Light has a conscience. He was just heavily influenced by Mia to take things to the extreme that they were taken to. Nice message there... nevermind Light's arc of an Icarus flying too close to the sun, it was basically all Mia's fault.
7. Death Note and chill, anyone?...
6. Mia's drool. I felt like she was spitting on me the entire time...
5. The rogue ladder decapitation... the setup for the death was pretty intense and interesting, but... huh? I can see like, getting concussed or maybe knocked into something but no ladder can slice through human skull like a knife through jello.
4. MR. TURNER! DETENTION! Wait... Light sells homework forgeries and he's actually a delinquent? He is a misunderstood rascal instead of the pinnacle straight-A student with top honors all across the board?
3. "Light Turner"... while Americanization can be a curse at the best of times, there is just no excuse for this...
2. L has a sweet-tooth, remember? Well, the movie did, for about the first half. Then suddenly the plot happens and an endearing character trait takes a backseat to hyper-protective emo-L.
1. Emo-L holds Lights life in his hands. Uh... I thought L didn't let emotions overtake his rationale... or his morals... or his duty as an unbiased detective.
BONUS ROUND: The page with Light's name on it floating conveniently like a Forrest Gump feather into the plot-fire.
Without ranting much, it's obvious to see that "DEATH NOTE" suffers from the same afflictions as "THE LAST AIRBENDER" and more. That is to say: consolidation of too much material into too short a time frame, abysmal casting (except Ryuk, the only redeemable quality of the movie, and that's not saying much), and a complete and unwelcome departure from major points of the story.
SPOILERS ABOVE- FAIR WARNING SPOILERS ABOVE- FAIR WARNING SPOILERS ABOVE- FAIR WARNING
I didn't give this movie a 5 because it was different from the original, i thought it wasn't different enough. I have read the Death Note manga several times and i think that, for a Shonen Jump Manga, it is a Masterpiece.
Still, being a Manga made for a very specific demographic it is tied to several silly Japanese teen archetypes. For example: Light Yagami being a High School Student and Misa Amane being a Teen idol, both of them being Japanese, that kind of thing.
The Story of a NoteBook of Death that is used to "create a better world" however, has a potential that far exceeds the original manga.
I believe that, had this been done correctly, it could have been on par with Breaking Bad. It could have been a master piece. They didn't even have to use the names of the original characters, they could have forgotten about the silly high school plot line and the Japanese clichés.
It should have been a TV Series and the characters should have been Detectives. Its sad to see such missed potential.
I honestly believe that, had this been done by good writers and on the right format, it could have far surpassed the original.
I understand that adaptations have to change some things from the source material in order to work in a full length feature film.
However most of the changes in Death Note 2017 were so drastic and so unnecessary that it feels like I'm watching another movie, it removes everything that made the original great and instead replaces it with American clichés and tropes that nobody asked for.
The biggest change was in the characters, especially with the main character Light Yagami, or in this case Light Turner.
The original Light was a character with a sense of morality that he thought he was always doing the right thing, in order to create a New World with no crime and then claim himself as the God of this New World in which he would judge every person if they deserved to die or not.
He was a prodigy, the smartest kid in his class, he made always the best decisions in order to execute his plans, he was always decided and he eliminated everyone who got in his way, he was basically perfect, and that what makes him an interesting character, not only that, but also when he showed us he was a complete psychopath and a total maniac.
Netflix Light on the other hand is the exact opposite, he was a normal teenager with no charisma, who always questions himself, always makes dumb decisions, and was really unlikable, he pretty much sucked as a protagonist, and was pretty annoying.
Doesn't help that the guy playing him did a terrible performance, I have nothing against Nate Wolff, but he pretty much sucked in this movie.
You could argue that the change was made for a more "realistic" take on Death Note, but doesn't matter in the end because the guy they went with was pretty much unbearable to watch, also I want to ask you a question, what would you rather watch, a show about a smart guy killing criminals while being chased by the best detective in the world or a 1 hour movie with a dumb teenager who doesn't know how to use the Death Note?
Speaking of L, I think his character was really weird in this movie, at first he kinda resembled the original L, with his quirks and the way he talks, but halfway trough the movie he completely changes after Watari is gone, he start to act like a complete different character that the movie already setup.
Ryuk was kinda OK I guess, Willem Dafoe was great but the way the character was written makes him look pretty different, when in the original he was pretty much the viewer who only saw Light's actions to entertain himself, while in here he pretty much manipulates Light to use the Death Note in the first place.
Mia was probably the worst character in the film (besides Light), and it's not because she was completely different from Misa (since I never really liked Misa) but it's because she is basically Kira, when in reality Light should be Kira, she was the one who manipulated Light trough out the whole movie, and she was pretty much the one who did Kira's actions.
Not only that she wasn't really likable either, she's pretty much your typical bad-ass female character, that doesn't obey the rules and does pretty much what she wants. The rest of the cast is pretty forgettable.
The story was awful, it was pretty much a mess from start to finish, Light gets the notebook an doesn't know how to use it properly, so he shows it to the girl that he likes for some reason, he later to starts killing criminals just because his mother was killed by one, and then L shows up, and doesn't do too much on the investigation, so when he came to the conclusion that Light was Kira it felt rushed and made no sense.
The romance in this movie was pretty much what ruined it for me, why would you add romance to Death Note? this is a psychological thriller, not a stupid teenage movie.
The climax of this movie also felt pretty rushed and was executed so bad, that it pretty much can confuse anyone, the last minutes of the film were the only thing that kinda resembled Death Note and the story ends with a cliffhanger so that we could get a sequel.
The pacing was atrocious, since they tried to include so much in so little time, and the editing was terrible too, with it's constant use of slow-motion for absolutely no reason, and the music selection was awful
The only thing that could have saved this movie was if it focused on the cat and mouse game between Light and L, since that what made the original interesting in the first place, but instead we focus on a shitty romance sub-plot and cringe dialogue.
Even as it's own thing it is still pretty bad, if you haven't seen the anime or read the manga, and you go to see this movie with no expectations, you still gonna be disappointed, since it has terrible characters, plot, editing, and dialogue
TL;DR: This movie was a mess, it fails both as an adaptation and as it's own thing, with terrible characters, badly written dialogue, bad acting, horror movie clichés, and a overall a lack of misunderstanding of what a makes a good film in the first place.
I would recommend reading the manga or watch the anime since they are so much better than this.
The characters are not at all how they are in the series. Light was a stud, smart a sociopath genius who could manipulate and outsmart anyone with and unwaiverable goal to be God. L is almost autistic and incredibly smart, not emotional. He was logical and to the point. Mia is a groupie fan girl with Light, a celebrity on her own but never would try to kill unless ordered by Kira to carry out his true goal of being God for as long as possible and destroying everything in his way.
The scene were Ryuk appears makes me want to puke it is so bad, his relationship with Light is far from what we see in the series, the plot is plain stupid. IT is mostly about him and his gf fighting whether they took it too far him and him being dumb enough to know his gf didn't take the book and kill some cops.
I hate this movie so much and so mad I spent whatever time I spent watching it because it is not worth even 5 minutes. Whoever made this should be ashamed and never produce a movie again.
This was written by 2 guys who've barely had any experience and the same idiot who wrote the terrible Fantastic Four (2015) movie. In other words, 3 people who really don't know what they're doing.
Instead of taking the source material and adapting it for the US while leaving most of the story intact, they decided to dumb it down, condense it and throw away pretty much anything that made sense.
Instead of Light being the popular, good-looking, brilliant son of a brilliant detective who wanted to help his dad, we get a loner who cheats and a father who is barely noticed. Instead of a super-model/singer girlfriend who is tormented by her own past and becomes enthralled by Kira, we get a girl-next-door average cheerleader who just happens to fall for Light because... reasons.
The drama that made the series and movies work so well, where everybody was trying to outsmart each other is stripped away and we're left with more of a soap opera story with no character development, no plot development and the only "brilliant" things are ones the screenwriters think they are surprising you with. Except THE AUDIENCE IS NEVER IN ON IT!
There are 3 MUCH better movies and a whole anime series to watch instead of this. If you're a fan of the show, you'll HATE this movie. If you've never seen the show... go watch it instead.
Sadly my fears were confirmed, all of them. It's as if the creators were given a 30 second explanation of Death Note and based a movie on what they were told.
The characters are simply nothing like the originals, the plot is a compacted mess, this simply isn't Death Note.
Light has gone from an arrogant, smart, cool calm and collected person to a weak screaming baby.
L has gone from a savant secretive quirky quiet child to an out in the open gun wielding threat spewing idiot.
Misa has become Mia and no longer a ditsy blonde bimbo but now a manipulative girl with designs on the book
The original plot? Forget about it, straight out the window and something that misses the point of the story altogether in to replace it.
I could rant about what an embarrassment this is for ages, I think I could quite frankly write a book on how much of a slap in the face to the fans this is but I'll resist.
But make no mistake, that's exactly what this is.
Willem Defoe as Ryuk
An offensive clustercrap to fans of the original
Terrible representation of Light
Terrible representation of L
Terrible representation of Mia/Misa
Misa becomes Mia.....really!?
So........many..........changes to the rules of the Death Note!
So........many..........changes to the plot
The soundtrack during the big wheel scene.......really!?
Things I learnt from this movie:
The creators never watched the anime, read the manga or did any kind of research
Well, I think it does. Mostly. It has a lot of the same themes of the original, even if the characters were mostly completely different. It questions the morality of murdering bad people without trial, and demonstrates the fanaticism that can arise with power. The film overall seems to be presented stylistically, moodily, with some nice musical interludes in a Donnie Darko sort of vein. It has a few twists and a pretty nice ending that makes it relatively satisfying, and it doesn't follow a predictable Hollywood format, which makes it at least a bit refreshing. And if you don't believe me that it's thematically similar to the original, the original author and artist of Death Note both praised the film believing it was a good adaption thematically.
There were things wrong with it. The pacing wasn't great. It starts off well and then it just shoots off like a rocket, making it hard to follow the second act. It made a pretty big directing faux pas by introducing new characters and concepts right inside a montage. A lot of the dialogue isn't written so well, making characters occasionally sound banal. The Final Destination-esque Rube Goldberg deaths were often overly done and comically gratuitous. I don't think it fits the themes very well to literally laugh when someone gratuitously explodes. You don't need to make huge stretches to be hardcore just because you're on Netflix, guys.
Overall I think this is not a film for the fanboys. They're going to hate it because it's different. I feel like I like it mostly because to be honest with you. However, honestly? I found the original to be flawed too. I think it will be an interesting but flawed film for pretty much anyone who doesn't worship the original. It is aesthetically (except for the utterly gratuitous deaths) and thematically pleasing, but has some pacing and writing issues. Hope this review will be helpful.