I tried. Seriously… I tried. But like all American adaptations of great Japanese anime, it has disappointed me in more ways than one.
I did, though, tried.
I tried to watch it as it is supposed to be – an adaptation. However, it still failed to deliver. I must stress that everything that made the original great and remarkable was non-existent in this film. I wondered what was going through the minds of the writers, producers, and director during its production.
Have they watched the original anime series? How about the Japanese movie adaptations? Has any one of them read the manga as well?
It may be just an adaptation, an American version of the original, but why take away a big factor of what makes Death Note extraordinary and create something so cliché and mediocre?
The characters have no chemistry. Lack character development. Entirely Lacklustre.
I find it a total shame not to have seen in this film one of the reasons (if not THE Reason) that made the anime so great – the chemistry between Light Yagami (in this case, Light Turner) and L. Two geniuses clashing brain power is electrifying to watch, it keeps you at the edge of your seat as you wait to see how each one would try to overwhelm the other. Two chess players patiently deliberating strategies and moving at their own pace until one cries checkmate.
You won’t see that in this movie.
Unlike the cool, calm and collected genius that Light Yagami was, Light Turner turned out to be a loser in high school who just happens to be quite smart (total American high school cliché). Of course, we don’t really have much proof of his supposed genius because of lack in character development, but he did get a chance to use his head by the end of the movie; albeit in a rather uninteresting way.
Also, they made him into a pathetic fool, controlled by a psychotic girl who is just plain annoying and with no depth in character whatsoever. An extra on the side who is mainly there to serve its purpose then discarded afterward. Totally unlike the sweet Amane Misa.
L, whose actor I’ve been initially disappointed with and mentioned HERE, was not as enthralling as the original one either. Though I did like the contrast in his clothing from the original L, the character is just lacking in so many ways. And when he started being overly emotional and acting like an immature brat, I just gave up and just wished the film to end.
Willem Dafoe, who played the death god Ryuk, and whom I thought would be this film’s saving grace wasn’t enough either. They’ve turned Ryuk into a manipulative monster who doesn’t really add much spice to the story.
He doesn’t appear much either…
The storyline was too fast-paced for its own good. The two main characters (who basically are the core of the story) have suffered greatly due to this and the way they’ve concluded the story was too rushed to the point where it seemed like the people behind the film just wanted to get it over and done with.
The result? The ending didn’t leave me wanting more… I was just glad it ended.
Overall, Netflix’s Death Note is an utter let-down and an entirely forgettable version of a great anime series.