Oh why oh why did I decide to watch this movie? 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 major trash. Wish I could put it more nicely but hey that’s my true 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. We’ve seen it happen before.
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. Whether you take it as a standalone movie or not. 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 of it all is that 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 way too easily scared and way too easily manipulated.
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.
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.
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.