Death Note (2017) Review

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Oh why oh why did I decide to watch this? Ah that’s right because there was a time when I thought since it was Netflix that was behind this then maybe just maybe it would have a chance to be good. But man let me tell you straight up, that was not the case here at all. This movie turned out to be trash. Wish I could put it more nicely but hey that’s my feelings on it. And what makes it that way isn’t that they diverted from the source material. No not at all because I think you coulda had a good movie regardless of whether it was a faithful adaption or not.

The problem here really is that the story is such a mess that even somebody going into this blind with no prior knowledge will have problems enjoying it. Meaning even if you take it as a standalone movie it sucks. The pacing is all over place, the dialogue is cringe worthy, and there are way too many tonal shifts. Mostly because it feels like it’s constantly rushing. As if it has so many plot points it wants to get to that it begins to feel like it’s checking things off a list, thus not taking any time to fully flesh out any of it’s ideas. And the editing…it doesn’t help any… But the biggest tragedy is that all the characters are a combination of being unrelatable and/or of being just plain stupid. In particular I’d have to call out our main lead, Light Turner. The guy was such a doofus. He was easily scared and way too easily manipulated.

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Which if you followed the manga/anime or seen interviews of what the idea for THIS movie was supposed to originally be about, you would go in expecting the opposite. Something more along the lines of a thoughtful crime drama about two people. Light a high school kid and L a brilliant detective, who each have different notions of what justice is. With a nice supernatural element added on top of it all to spice things up. You know by having Light being able to kill by simply writing a name in a book that he finds called a Death Note. Which goes on to make him wanna become a god of a new world were all criminals are wiped off by his hands. Meanwhile the other main character, the detective who also has his own notion of justice is quick on his pursuit. I mean come on with a concept like that it’s basically inherently primed to make all sorts of commentaries on society.

Yet this movie ultimately chose to go more down the standard “mindless action” route. Which could be ok but that isn’t what was promised or what people hoped/expected. And it didn’t help that in this movie we were expected too many times to simply accept that L had figured “it” out. That’s right we don’t really get a lot of the logic behind his deductions. If anything a lot of the times they end of feeling like a big stretch. But let me stop for a sec and say not ALL is bad. You did have some shinning spots here and there so at least you get some sense that there were some people that cared and tried. I mean some of the first kills were cool and had some Final Destination vibes going. Although even then they were so over the top it was ridiculous to the point of being unintendedly funny. Then you also had a couple of good performances thrown into the mix.

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For example, Willem Dafoe completely nailed his part as the Shinigami(death reaper) to whom the Death Note originally belonged to. His portrayal of Ryuk was amazing and shoulda probs been featured more since I feel those scenes were the best in the whole movie. At least in the dialogue department. Kinda a shame that now if they do remake this down the line and try to do it right he will probs not get to reprise his role. Making his casting one of the most wasted in all of Hollywood. Since if anything it was like he was born to play the part. I mean the dude brought it all presence, charisma, was creepy, and most important of all he sold the lines with his delivery.

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As far as the other characters go. They could be hit or miss but for the characters that are the most important, there are a lot of misses. So if you love Light,  L or Misa from the original source material I would have to give you a big warning that they are not the same characters here. Not only do their personalities feel off but some characters go completely against what they were in the originals. This is most likely what will piss off the hardcore fans the most. I mean just watch this video that somebody put up on YouTube…it’s the movie in a nutshell.

However if you like young adult novels and more specifically their on screen adaptions like let’s say The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones or I am Number Four but with a gory twist, then you may kinda like this. Because that is what this turns into by the end. Fudge the smart interplay between L and Light. I mean who wants that when we can shift the focus AWAY from the cat and mouse hunt and instead place it to were the people really want it… the Light and Misa romance. I say that sarcastically of course…

That is why I’m now letting yall know, you would be better off avoiding this. Unless you wanna watch this as if you were watching a parody. But hey if curiosity gets the better of you or it already has, then let me know what your thoughts on the movie were. In the end I gotta give this a 5/10 and that’s me being kind thanks to Dafoe. Without his involvement this might get a 3 or maybe a 2! With that until next time.

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11 thoughts on “Death Note (2017) Review

    • I understand, Death Note is actually one of the few series in which I own the manga and the anime. So I’m a huge fan too. I was lucky enough to discover the manga early in it’s run. And it was so amazingly writen that I had trouble waiting for the next chapters to be released. Then when the anime showed up I was hyped and ultimately I gotta say I even prefered it. So I was hoping this could be at least ok even if they did change stuff. Oh well, maybe next time.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I think Light might be one of the most bafflingly complex characters I’ve ever encountered in manga/anime and I was genuinely curious to see how Netflix would handle him. I would still like the see a good film adaptation of Death Note one day, with actor who can carry the weight of the source material. Unfortunately, Netflix missed the boat completely on that one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah I still have my fingers crossed for a good adaption somewhere down the line. I mean compared to a lot of the anime out there it feels like Death Note should be do-able since it’s more on the grounded side.

      Also I gotta take a sec to admire your username. Very creative. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah it was sad how disappointing this turned out to be. Makes me more skeptical for the future anime adaptions Netflix is planning. But hopefully you atleast enjoyed the food your friend bribed you with…

      Like

  2. I remember cringing at the news that an American adaptation was being made because I felt so sure that I won’t like it after they cast yet another non-Japanese (not even an Asian) to play the leads. Thank you for doing the work and watching it though and making us all stay away from it. I was tempted to see it just to know if it’s any good but now I’m not touching it with a ten-foot pole. Unless I wanna hate on something though. Haha!

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