When this popped up on Netflix, I got a bad vibe right away. When I was younger Death Note was an obsession of mine for a while. I loved it. And oh lookie, I thought, they’ve white people’d Death Note. And they’ve done ruined it in the process.
While it’s true that this movie hasn’t been 100% whitewashed, there’s no denying the Ghost In the Shell-ness of the casting. And that’s not the only way in which this horror story has been robbed of its identity. While the original Death Note asks a fascinating moral question and does so in a more elegant way than my old nemesis, Dexter, this movie … does not.
Originally, Death Note tells the story of outwardly normal (you know, genius and psychopathy aside) teen Light Yagami discovering the Death Note, which he can use to kill people, providing that he has their name and face. He decides to use this to kill off the bad guys of the world, leading some to condemn him as a monster and others to herald him as a hero. What follows is an interesting, complex back and forth as L and other investigators try to find out the identity of “Kira,” and the fascinating moral question of whether or not it is moral to kill killers. Should we be on Light’s side?
Netflix’s Death Note is about as watered down as it can get. Light, now Light Turner, is less a genius and more of a drone on emo-autopilot with no personality to back him up, and lacking the real twisted side of his character that would support his actions. He’s also sadly obsessed with a girl, Mia, who has just as little personality, and even less motivation for her … suddenly evil for no reason actions? On top of this, none of the characters are that faithful to those they’re based on, yet despite this, a lot of the writing seems to be banking on you having read the manga.
On top of this, none of the characters are that faithful to those they’re based on, yet despite this, a lot of the writing seems to be banking on you having read the manga. The writing isn’t intelligent enough to hold up the story, and half the time the characters seem to be wandering aimlessly, hoping to find the plot in their locker. Oh, and sure the Death Note has rules, but not consistent rules, or the same rules as the Death Notes we’re used to. No, this is more of a whatever’s convenient for the plot type of situation. And whatever gives Not Kristen Stewart a chance to confuse the crap out of me with her motivation-not-motivation.
Honestly, if you’ve not checked out Death Note before then I would recommend any other version.