It is hard to imagine that anyone could take such a classic and completely ruin it in two hours. Well, I have news for you. They can and they did.
The entire story can be told in the first ten minutes of the movie. Light Turner, which was Light Yamagami in the anime, gains possession of a powerful notebook. The notebook has the capability of killing people simply by writing their name in it, if the owner has seen the face of his or her target. Light writes down his victim’s name and moments later his target dies of decapitation.
Throughout the movie these murders are very gory, perhaps to the point that it is unnecessary. The murders are very fast and very weightless, which sums up the whole movie.
Death Note originated from the popular classic animation and manga of the same title. Light finds this notebook completely at random with no explanation whatsoever, and he begins to kill all the people he finds that are evil. He then begins to portray himself as a God of Justice named Kira. Kira takes credit for all killings. Soon he begins to attract the law enforcement and a very special detective that goes by the name of “L”.
With one problem after another, we are following this simple game of cat and mouse from beginning to the very end. If director Adam Wingard wanted Light to be a favorite in this film, he failed miserably.
Light is a very whiny and almost unintelligent person. Which is very different to the anime counterpart. The film is very hard to discern if it is meant to be a comedy or a thriller. Kira simply doesn’t have the look of someone who can contemplate a murder, and quite frankly his motivations of using the Death Note aren’t very strong either.
Light’s mother was murdered and so he shows a desire to bring justice, but that really isn’t explored in the film.
Light meets Mia
Later in the film, Light falls for his future girlfriend Mia. Her name in the anime was Misa Amane. She plays a very large role in the movie that she never really ever earns. The angry Mia wants to help Light murder with no given explanation. They both continue to murder with no sense of remorse or humanity. They are supposedly infatuated and in love with each other but they bicker at each other like they have no real chemistry.
Compare and Contrast
In the animation version, Light is a very charismatic student who discovers darker paths. His strength against evil comes from his overwhelming charm. He plots and schemes to kill others while hiding in the shadows of plain sight.
Instead on relying on the default death that the animation gave us which was a heart attack. All the deaths seem to be detailed gory scenes which might be something you see in the film “Hostel”. It is almost like they used gore to cover up the fact that this is a horrible film. The classic game of wits in its original state has become uninspired and disappointing.
Light and “L”
Light and “L” never have the opportunity to have the well respected rivalry that we were once given. When they encounter each other, it is very anticlimactic and doesn’t seem to have any real tension. With Kira’s lack of intelligence, you begin to wonder how Light ever escapes at all.
The only great part of this film is Ryuk, the Shinigami of Death. Ryuk is voiced by Willem Defoe. You really don’t get to see enough of this character. He is the only part that is well acted and is truly authentic to the anime version. Ryuk isn’t in the movie long enough to be any real importance in the film.
This movie reminds me of watching highlights of a boring sport. The plot moves at the speed of The Flash and doesn’t even feel like a movie at all.