Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Death Note (2017) 1h 41m
I knew this day would come. I fucking knew it! I just hoped that it would be much later than this, and on Halloween of all days! So I've read all of the original Death Note manga, saw all of the anime, and own two of the three Japanese films (Death Note and Death Note II, but not L Saved the World). When Netflix said they were going to make their own movie based on Death Note it was met with some excitement and some skepticism. Then it came out and all I heard about it was that it was trash upon trash. So how does this really measure up?
If you're unfamiliar with the premise, Death Note is about an ultra intelligent teenage boy named Light. He finds a notebook labeled as a "Death Note" and a list of rules inside of how to use it. The book itself belongs to a Shinigami (death god) named Ryuk who acts as an influencer and voyeur to Light's use of the Death Note. After donning the name "Kira" (an indirect form of the word "killer" in Japanese), Light uses the Death Note in a self-conceived notion of global morality by eliminating criminals. A special operative, another teenage boy of extreme intelligence, known only as L is put on the case to flush out Kira.
That pretty much sums up what is maybe the first quarter of the original story and more info than you're given for the entirety of this film. If you know nothing at all about Death Note then you might like this film. If you know even the slightest bit about Death Note then you know this is a bastardization of the source material set in America. I could go on and on about why this wasn't good, but those reviews already exist so I'll jump to the two things I did like about this. First, Ryuk (and more importantly Willem Dafoe's voice acting) was a shining star in the black void of this film. The lines were dead on, the look was great, and Willen Dafoe fucking kills it with his laughs and line deliveries. Second, this version of L was much more proactive than the original. He took risks that were out of character for L, but it made him a bit more interesting. It doesn't help that I'm not really a fan of L in the manga/anime and much prefer Near, but with this film you have no clue what I'm talking about.
So is this movie the turd sandwich people say it is? Ehhhh... Like I said, if you have even flipped through the manga then you know this movie is trash. Although, for people that have no clue about Death Note, maybe this will be their gateway into the real thing, or maybe it will be their intro to manga and anime. So I can't really shit on that. Kids still get into metal based on new Metallica albums. If it leads to them finding good metal or visiting the old Metallica albums, then good for them. Metal up your ass...
I give Death Note 1 apple out of 5 (in honor of Willem Dafoe's Ryuk):