“Death Note” (2017) Review & Film Summary (2017), Netflix'S Death Note Live

Stranger Things’ The Duffer Brothers have announced they’ll be adapting Death lưu ý into a live-action series. Some changes will need to be made.

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By Shamus Kelley | July 9, 2022 | | Comments count:0
Photo: Netflix

Netflix is giving Death Note another try. After the lukewarm lớn negative reception of Netflix’s 2017 Death Note live-action film, the streamer is giving the property over to their biggest winners. This week, Stranger Things creators the Duffer Brothers announced they’ll be working on “an all-new live-action television series adaptation” described as “an entirely new take” separate from the movie.

Ignoring the 2017 movie is for the best. Not just because of the scathing reviews the film received upon release but because Death Note works best when it’s a serialized story told over a long season instead of trying khổng lồ cram it all into two hours. After all, Death note was originally conceived as a 12-volume manga — later adapted into a popular 37-episode anime — about how main character Light uses the titular Death Note, a notebook which kills anyone who’s name is written on its pages, lớn murder others và get away with it, & the wide-ranging repercussions of his actions. There’s no question that a TV series is the best format for a story with so much world-building as well as many story arcs, characters, & twists. Very good điện thoại tư vấn by the Duffers.

But choosing the right format is only half the battle. The Netflix series must still be careful about how it repackages a story that’s already been told and re-told several times since the early 2000s. To lớn deliver something that feels fresh for a new generation of viewers, the Duffer Brothers will have lớn update certain things about the original story. In 2017, director Adam Wingard tried to bởi this by making Light a more sympathetic person, replacing fan-favorite characters with new ones, và trying to lớn tell a more “digestible” version of the plot in 100 minutes. This approach failed. How will the Duffers put their own chất lượng spin on things? The setting could be one way.

The biggest question that hangs over this new version of Death Note: will it be phối in the present day? The obvious answer would be yes, why not? It’s a modern adaptation of a story that takes place in the 2000s, which wasn’t that long ago. It should still work if it takes place in the 2020s, right?

The problem is the ever-evolving công nghệ of our world. The original Death cảnh báo manga began in 2003 & the anime in 2006. Smart phones were far from the ubiquitous items they are today, & if introduced into Death Note’s world now, they alone would create a sizable stumbling block for the story. Much of Death Note relies on Light avoiding detection, including by being able khổng lồ hold secret conversations with the Shinigami Ryuk.

While surveillance cameras and the like did play a part in the original manga & anime, the addition of smart phones to the world would make it incredibly difficult for either Light, or his main rival L, to avoid detection. Add to that the proliferation of monitoring công nghệ in major cities, & it would mean that any new Death lưu ý series set in present day would have to alter its story in some way khổng lồ address modern world advancements. Perhaps it’d have to lớn throw out some of the more iconic moments of the original manga in favor of new strategies that Light can employ lớn avoid detection through smart phones.

If the Duffer Brothers need a guide on how to handle this, Death Note itself has provided some helpful guideposts. The one-shot manga sequel, The a-Kira Story, published in 2020, directly addresses how the world has changed since Light’s story. The manga is phối in the present day and sees Ryuk give the Death lưu ý to a new human, Minoru Tanaka, who specifically states that Light’s (also known as Kira) old tricks wouldn’t work now:“There’s a security camera on every street corner now, & in every train car, và buses have dashcams. They’re more sophisticated at investigating cybercrimes. So if Kira tried to lớn get his message out online, they’d track him down right away… & the police have tabs on all cell phone calls. Untraceable messages online only happen when TV shows and movies need to lớn write that way to lớn make things dramatic.”In a-Kira, Tanaka avoids the use of the internet all together lớn try và sell the Death Note. He doesn’t even write in it because he’s so concerned about the possible repercussions. It should be noted that this manga is basically a side story, và it’s doubtful the Duffer Brothers will take very much from it. However, it at least demonstrates the things they should keep in mind if adapting Death chú ý for the present day.

Of course, this can all be avoided if the Duffers just stick to the mid-2000s for their series or hell, they could set it in the ‘80s for maximum Stranger Things synergy. That would certainly be a unique take on Death Note we’ve not seen before. The point is, after 20 years of Death Note adaptations, the new Netflix series will have to lớn try new things khổng lồ set itself apart, but it also needs to remember what made this story great in the first place.

What vị you think the new Death Note series should update about this story? How would you lượt thích Do you think they’ll try lớn make Light/Kira even more sympathetic this time around?

I love Death Note, but this movie is not Death Note. It may bear the title of “Death Note”, but it’s really not. It doesn’t surprise me that this movie is bad. I fully expected the American version of Death chú ý to be bad, but I didn’t expect it lớn be quite as terrible as this.

What is Death Note?

In case you’re not aware, Death note is an anime about a Japanese high school honour student named Light Yagami who finds a shinigami’s notebook, which allows him to lớn kill anyone whose name he writes in it—usually by heart attack. Light decides to lớn use the notebook to become, as he puts it, “the god of the new world” by killing all the world’s criminals, followed by anyone else he sees as unworthy to lớn live. A brilliant detective named L realizes early on how dangerous “Kira the Saviour” is & makes it his goal lớn catch the serial killer.

A lưu ý from the Future

In the years since I first watched Death lưu ý 2017, my opinion has softened considerably. At this point, I find myself better able to lớn recognize the film’s strengths, even alongside its flaws.

Since I no longer hate this film, I thought I’d just leave this disclaimer; hopefully my rants from back then are still entertaining, at least.

The film is functionally an alternate universe fanfic with an cast of original characters that’s only very loosely inspired by those in the manga. The film’s rules for how the Death chú ý functions are likewise divorced from their manga equivalents.

Light Turner is honestly more lượt thích an American version of Misa Amane than anything resembling Light Yagami. The protagonist of the film is a downtrodden teenager of at best average cleverness who wants revenge on the man who murdered his mother, which morphs into a desire lớn rid the world of bad people.

Mia Sutton, conversely, is rather more like Light Yagami: a sociopath who wants khổng lồ use the Death cảnh báo to become “the god of the new world.”

In my view, there’s no reason a movie shouldn’t be able khổng lồ openly present itself as an alternate universe fanfic of its source material. If they did, it would be a lot easier khổng lồ go in with an mở cửa mind.

I suspect the biggest reason adaptations are almost universally so disappointing is that the industry insists on billing them as “adaptations” in the first place.

Trailers claim that a film is “based on” the bestselling phenomenon—even “the book brought lớn life”—and this creates an expectation that you’re going khổng lồ get a somewhat faithful representation of the original story. This is, of course, somewhat broken on the face of it. Movies lack many of the strengths of whatever medium they happen khổng lồ be adapting.

If a book is good, then it almost certainly makes good use of the strengths of its medium, and those are strengths that a feature film can’t reproduce. This is why even a relatively good adaptation like Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings films is plagued with all manner of strange problems that just weren’t in the novel.

But if a film wants to vì chưng its own thing—veer away from its source material into the filmmakers’ own imagination—that’s only wrong if they claim it’s an adaptation. I’d rather watch a film that’s a fun alternate universe fanfic of a beloved book than a film that pretends to represent that book & does a poor job of it.

The problem is that, from the perspective of soulless boardroom executives, claiming to be “the book brought to life” is an effective way of selling the film to lớn people who’ve not read the book; it makes filmgoers think they’re getting the story without the necessary time investment.

What’s more sinister, in my opinion, is the specific phrase, “brought to lớn life.” Because movies are a corporate thing that makes the executives a lot of money, it’s to lớn their benefit if the public subconsciously thinks that movies are somehow a higher form of storytelling than their source material.

This assumption has been drip-fed into the minds of most people to one degree or another, and this can often lead to lớn deep feelings of betrayal when the adaptation fails to lớn live up to those impossible standards. Even more so when it tries lớn tell a different story entirely.

The solution I propose is this: stop putting the medium of feature films on a pedestal. Learn lớn read books as the story fully realized, rather than a stepping stone to lớn a film. Ideally, a film lượt thích Death note 2017 would be able lớn distance itself from its source material enough that one could enjoy it on its own merits.

There should be no shame in making a film that’s a fanfic, so long as it doesn’t lie to lớn you.

The Characters

With context out of the way, let’s get on with why the American film is so awful. I’ll start with the characters, who bare little resemblance lớn their counterparts in the source material, and I think I’ll leave the worst for last.



Ryuk is by far the best thing about this film. As many other critics have said already, Willem Dafoe is perfectly cast in the role. Sadly, though, he’s barely in the movie. Even when he does make an appearance, his motivations seem somewhat altered from what they were in the anime. You see, in the anime, Ryuk the shinigami becomes so bored with life in the shinigami world that he steals a second Death chú ý and drops it into the Human World in the hope that the resulting chaos will quench his boredom.

In the American movie, however, we are told that it’s his job khổng lồ give the Death chú ý to a never-ending sequence of humans. We’re made lớn assume that he’s been doing this for all eternity & that Light is some sort of chosen one—I’ll get back lớn this, but suffice it to say this is a bad change from the source material. What this means for Ryuk is that his agency as a character in the story is compromised, as he’s no longer acting of his own miễn phí will.



L (called Ryūzaki by the Japanese Task Force), despite retaining many of his idiosyncrasies in the film, is still quite different from the detective in the source material. L is quirky, analytical, & somewhat machiavellian. Before I speak about L’s character in the film, let me just say that casting a black actor as L isn’t remotely a problem. L is meant to lớn be of mixed ethnic background, so I don’t see any problem in casting whomever is right for the part, so long as you don’t whitewash the character.

That’s where we get khổng lồ the big problem, though. You see, there’s a troubling trend in Hollywood of casting one or two black actors as characters who were already people of colour. More often than not, this is accompanied by whitewashing the rest of the cast. Death note 2017 is no exception. All the POC characters are cast with trắng actors, with the sole exception of L, & the only other major character of colour in the film is Watari, the only trắng guy of any importance in the original story.

In this context, it’s easy lớn see the problem, và it’s not remotely chất lượng to Death note 2017: the casting of the film has not increased minority representation by casting two actors of colour in a film that otherwise whitewashes all its roles. This does not make more jobs for actors of colour; it takes jobs that should have been filled by people of colour & gives them to white actors.

To his credit, Keith Stanfield does an excellent job with what he’s given, even if the script quickly veers away from what it’s adapting. His portrayal’s not the Ryūzaki I know, but it’s not totally terrible either. That is… at least until the car chase scene. Yes, this movie has a oto chase between L và Kira. It has a long oto chase because it’s an American film, you see, và American films need big, stupid oto chases.

Misa Amane
Mia Sutton


Misa Amane (also known as “the Second Kira”) is a mã sản phẩm and actress who falls madly in love with Kira and later with Light after she discovers he is Kira. Light enters into a manipulative relationship with Misa so he can use her power to his advantage, as she is able to lớn know a person’s name merely by looking at their face. Of course, Light intends lớn kill Misa once she is no longer useful.

All that is out the window in this version, where “Mia Sutton” is a cheerleader Light has a crush on and the primary villain of the film. Now she’s the one manipulating him so as to take his Death chú ý for herself; indeed, she’s far more similar khổng lồ Light than the Light of this movie is. Don’t get me wrong; she’s every bit as idiotic as Misa Amane—it’s just that everyone else in this movie seems khổng lồ be even less intelligent. Fans of the source material will no doubt be asking themselves why Mia needs Light’s Death cảnh báo when Misa already has her own—not to lớn mention the shinigami eyes that, were it not for light’s intelligence, would make her a far more dangerous Kira than he. Well, it’s because in this version she’s just a crazy cheerleader who craves the power of the Death Note.

On Casting

Again on the subject of casting, I find it odd that when picking an actress khổng lồ play a Japanese woman with dyed blonde hair the filmmakers decided to cast a trắng woman with brown hair. It just seems khổng lồ me that even if you’re going lớn change Misa’s ethnicity so that her hair could easily be that colour naturally, you should at least give her that hair colour so she’ll look at least somewhat lượt thích her character from the source material. Hell, even Shyamalan had Nicola Peltz dye her hair brown when she was going khổng lồ play a bastardized version of Katara in The Last Airbender!

Light Yagami Turner


Now we come lớn Light Yagami, the villain protagonist of the series. Here he’s whitewashed with the casting of Nat Wolff (a child actor from an old Nickelodeon sitcom) & renamed Light Turner. The name “Light Yagami” (夜神月 “Yagami Raito”) is quite an interesting one, as “Raito” (Light) is written with the kanji for “moon,” which is written with four strokes. According to lớn superstition, the number four is associated with death. “Yagami” means, in this case, “night god.” What does Turner mean? “One who works with a lathe?” What the hell does that have to vị with anything?

Light Yagami in Live-Action

As you may already know, Death note has been adapted into live-action movies before, & if a Japanese crew can’t adapt an anime correctly then what chance has an American one? Whenever anyone makes a live-action film based on Death Note, they always feel the inexplicable need to make Light Yagami sympathetic. Shūsuke Kaneko, who directed the first two parts of the Japanese live-action film series, rightly thought that audiences would have a hard time sympathizing with Light as he was in the source material. He therefore changed Light’s motivation khổng lồ frustration rather than boredom. The problem here is that Light Yagami is a great villain, but he’s not a sympathetic villain. Nor should he be made a sympathetic villain.

Light Turner

The American version is many, many times worse than the Japanese movie could ever have hoped to lớn be. Instead of trying khổng lồ make Light a sympathetic villain or even an anti-hero, the Americans just go the whole hog & twist Light into their idea of a relatable teenage hero! Far from being a sociopathic serial killer with an evil laugh and an inflated self-image, Light Turner is portrayed as a misunderstood vigilante—so much so that many people have interpreted it as a superhero movie, with the stuck-up authorities hunting Light as they would Batman or the X-Men.

Almost everything about Light’s character is changed quite drastically. Turner is angsty and quite dim-witted for someone who makes his money selling test answers, he’s not self-righteous or narcissistic, and he’s motivated by revenge & lust rather than megalomania.

Spoiler Alert

Now we’ve got the gist of this movie’s problems out of the way, we must begin looking at it in more detail, which shouldn’t take as long now I’ve summarized what’s so wrong with all the main characters. Keep in mind if you’ve not seen the anime; there will be at least some spoilers in the review. Of course there will also be major spoilers concerning the American version, but you shouldn’t care about that because you shouldn’t waste your time with this movie.

The Netflix Movie

Three seconds in and we’ve already got our first problem: the music in the film is terrible! The anime greeted us with a well-thought-out opening sequence & then mix the tone with Gregorian chants. The American version starts with a montage of high schoolers doing high school things to lớn the sound of a bad ‘80s surf rock song.

The death cảnh báo lands at Light’s feet in the movie, whereas in the show he just happened khổng lồ be the one khổng lồ pick it up. This change makes it seem lượt thích he really was chosen for the task. Then it starts raining. On their way back inside, Light Turner & Mia Sutton defend a kid who’s being bullied by school bully Kenny Doyle—the first attempt this movie makes khổng lồ have Light be sympathetic. Nat Wolff’s nerdy voice is completely wrong for the confident girl-magnet và honour student. After Light gets punched out, he gets in trouble for selling demo answers. Not only would Light Yagami never help other students cheat, but he most certainly would not get caught doing so. Again they’re trying to lớn make him sympathetic or relatable, missing the point of the character entirely.

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Light’s First Kill

In detention, Light is approached by the death-god called Ryuk. Light’s shock at seeing Ryuk for the first time goes on for far too long. It makes Light seem too normal. In the anime, Light claims to have been expecting something of the sort to lớn happen. Wolff’s screaming is comical, which doesn’t help the scene. It is here that we start khổng lồ see the problem with the swearing in the movie. The swearing in the American version is half-assed & feels thrown-in-for-edge-factor:

“Relax, Light. You’re asleep. You’re asleep và you’re dreaming of some… eight-foot-tall demon-looking motherfucker.”

Compare that to lớn the swearing in the anime. The swearing there was potent and made an impact:

“Matsuda, you idiot! Who the hell do you think you’re shooting at? Don’t fuck with me!”

In the American version, Ryuk has lớn push Light into using the notebook, despite Light Yagami having done so out of boredom long before the shinigami arrived. In the show, Light sits down to test out the Death lưu ý out of boredom & is about to lớn put pen to lớn paper when he realizes that if someone does die as a result, it will make him a murderer. He therefore turns on the television & finds a criminal to chạy thử it out on. After the criminal dies of a heart attack, Light decides he needs to lớn find another criminal to thử nghiệm it out on just to lớn be sure it wasn’t a coincidence, and he all but stumbles upon a rapist who becomes his second victim.

In the American movie, Light hesitates lớn kill the school bully (in the anime the only reason he didn’t kill him was because it would be suspicious if someone close khổng lồ him fell victim). Indeed, this version of Light takes a great deal of convincing before he kills the bully. He even tells Ryuk that he doesn’t have a pen, and when Ryuk presents him with one…

“It’s a good thing you have a pen.”


I hate this movie… I really do. When I đánh giá something I have khổng lồ watch it at least twice, and it is much, much worse on the second viewing. Indeed, it was painful to lớn sit through this again. Instead of starting with a nursery school-shooter, Kenny Doyle serves as the first—needlessly gory—death. Rather than sticking with the show’s heart attacks and psychological horror, the American movie—being an American movie—goes with over-the-top gore, with deaths ranging from decapitation lớn being shot by peelers (the latter being something the Death lưu ý can’t do, as it can’t compel a person to kill someone else). Despite the gore, the bully’s decapitation was so dull that I couldn’t even be bothered to lớn shout, “O, my god! They killed Kenny! You bastards!” I was too busy shaking my head at every needless departure from the source material.

A Sympathetic Hero

Ryuk then introduces Light to the rules of the Death Note, và it turns out that the American version has decided to 3d its own phối of rules. The movie’s seven-day rule, for instance, which states that you thua possession of the Death lưu ý if you don’t use it at least once every seven days, reminds me of one of the giả rules that Light used to lớn trick L in the anime.

The scene where we’re introduced to lớn Sōichirō Yagami—I mean “James Turner”—is terrible. Not only is there something not quite right about the actors’ performances, but we also learn that Light’s mother was murdered và the murderer got away with it. His sister Sayu doesn’t appear and is never mentioned, despite both she và their mother being alive in the original. It’s another pathetic attempt khổng lồ make us feel sorry for Light. “O, his mother was murdered & the killer got away with it! Feel sorry for him!”

History of the Death Note

Light goes upstairs khổng lồ use the Death lưu ý to avenge his mother, rather than using it in an attempt lớn become a god as he does in the anime. Having him be driven by revenge and grief is yet another attempt to twist him into some sort of anh hùng American audiences can root for, because somehow the filmmakers didn’t realize that Light’s supposed khổng lồ be the villain.

Light discovers a message scrawled into the Death Note:

“Don’t trust Ryuk. He is NOT your pet. He is NOT your friend.”

This has no impact on the plot and serves no conceivable purpose. Then Ryuk says something I find quite confusing:

“Every human spends the last moments of his life in the shadow of a death-god.”

I’m pretty sure everyone in Death note is supposed khổng lồ have a natural maximum lifespan that a shinigami can shorten in order to increase his or her own lifespan; that’s the whole point of the notebooks.

“The last keeper of the note passed away. It fell to lớn me to find a new one.”

Er… in the anime, Ryuk stole the notebook from another shinigami in order khổng lồ use it khổng lồ create chaos. He then dropped it in the human world, and Light just happened to be the one to lớn pick it up.

Light’s Second Kill

In any case, he kills the guy who murdered his mother, which makes Light a sympathetic anh hùng out for revenge. You know… instead of the sociopath who uses the notebook out of boredom. The whole scene with “James Turner” telling his son that the mother’s murderer is dead seems calculated to lớn make us like Light & see him as the good guy this film is determined to lớn cast him as. It’s infuriating to watch it và compare this lớn the far superior story of the privileged sociopath who wants khổng lồ become the god of the new world.

The problem with this movie is that even though they try to lớn make Light likeable, they don’t really succeed. In the show, he’s not likeable because he’s the villain; usually he’s the character you love lớn hate, but he’s so captivating that you can’t help but root for him just because you want to lớn see what’ll happen next in his quest for world domination. Here, however, he’s just an annoying asshole whom the film wants you lớn view as the hero.

Mia Sutton

Mia approaches Light at school & talks about how she’s happy that Kenny got decapitated. She admits to lớn wishing she could have seen him die and then introduces herself, & the awkward teen-romance dialogue is painful to sit through. There’s something wrong with these performances.

“Yeah. The thing is, I know what it’s like to be fucked over. Some asshole killed my mom & got away with it until I got this book. I just keep thinking, I mean, why should it just be for me? I mean, all the people who make life miserable, make life dangerous—I can reach them now.”

I just realized… this is a superhero film. They turned Death cảnh báo into a superhero movie! Think about it… Light Turner is just a murderous version of Bruce Wayne; his loved one was murdered & now he wants to get justice for others who’ve been through the same thing. He becomes a powerful vigilante of the night, but the cops don’t understand so he has khổng lồ keep his identity a secret from everyone except his girlfriend. In fact, that’s just about every superhero origin story ever!

The Birth of Kira


Mia suggests using the Death note to change the world, & all Light can think about is that she said the word “we,” apparently meaning they’re a couple now. So instead of using the notebook of his own accord to create a world where his will is absolute, this Light does it khổng lồ impress a girl he likes. O, and then there’s a kissing scene—a clichéd teen-romance kissing scene followed by a montage of Light & Mia shagging amidst shots of people’s heads exploding. Instead of a montage of people dying of heart attacks, we’re made to watch as a couple of teenagers develop a shallow relationship.

Instead of being given the name “Kira” by the people who will become his worshippers (“kira” being derived from the English word “killer”), this Light comes up with it because it apparently means “light” in Russian & Celtic (although I wasn’t able to verify this). As an afterthought, he decides khổng lồ use it to make people think he’s Japanese. I’m not sure whether this is a show of contempt for the source material or some ill-conceived attempt at a nod to it. Either way, it’s stupid. That Light would use his own name as an alias makes him an idiot, which could not be farther from the evil genius of the show.

“They’re gonna be in the wrong continent.”

Er… japan isn’t a continent; it’s an island nation, you bastardized moron. I think I may have also figured out the problem with the performances in this movie: everyone mumbles their every line!

A terrorist leader is made, by means of the Death Note, to lớn blow himself up along with his whole organization. In the show, this would have caused him to lớn simply die of a heart attack, as in the sự kiện that the specified “cause of death” would cause others lớn die the lưu ý defaults khổng lồ a heart attack. We’re almost a half-hour into this Death chú ý movie, và we’ve still not seen even a single heart attack.

The Coming of L

We then get a bunch of news stations reporting on Kira. L is introduced, and he’s probably one of the least awful parts of this movie, as the actor does everything he can with what he has. Unfortunately, this is still the American version of Death Note, và in this version he does pretty much everything in person. I find it odd that L would openly show himself in public without so much as a false identity, given his asocial nature.


There’s a scene of Light Turner talking to lớn his father about Kira, & Light all but voices his tư vấn of Kira. This is quite different from what happens in the show, as Light Yagami goes so far as to lớn join the Japanese Task Force, pretending to lớn be against Kira. I’m really not liking Shea Whigham’s performance as James Turner (Yagami Sōichirō). He mumbles even more than the others do. Mia shows Light a website for Kira worshippers, và the dialogue here is so horribly bad I can’t believe it. Moving on.

My problem with L isn’t that he’s black (which seemed to lớn excite some silly people); my problem is that he and everyone else are all American. O, & in case you were wondering, L grew up in an orphanage in Winchester, England. In any case, American L meets Police Chief Turner và is impressed with the work he’s done.

“So you did all of this yourself…”

And apparently he did. Wait a second… What about Matsuda? You know… the guy who killed Light at the end of the show!

The Press Conference

L holds a press conference where he openly challenges Kira. In the anime, L used a death row inmate called Lind L. Tailor as a stand-in. It was a brilliant scene in which Light Yagami showed his true colours by killing Tailor, only to lớn find out that the real L was still alive. Also, since the broadcast was only in the Kanto region, L was able to use the incident to lớn find out Kira’s approximate location. The movie throws that all out the window. In this scene L shows himself in public, openly announcing to lớn the world that he’s L.


Of the main characters in this movie, I’d say that apart from Ryuk, L is probably the closest to the source material. That is, until partway through the movie when he goes mental, and then there’s a car chase. Again, this is an American movie, và it doesn’t want you to lớn forget that. Light questions his father about the press conference. He acts incredibly suspicious because, unlike Light Yagami, Light Turner is a bloody idiot.

We get a scene of “James Turner” confronting L, as he’s angry that the detective is investigating Light. I actually lượt thích Keith Stanfield’s performance as L in this scene; he just calmly explains why he’s investigating him, and it reminds me of a similar (albeit much better) scene in the anime. Mia suggests they kill all the agents investigating Light, and Light refuses because in this version he’s the good guy. He even says, “Well, then I guess we’re really fucking lucky that it’s my book.” In the anime, Light killed Raye Penber the first chance he got.

“We’re Not the Good Guys Anymore”

We see the assistant director of the FBI die of a heart attack. Forty-five minutes in và this is the first heart attack we’ve seen in a Death lưu ý movie! A Death chú ý movie!


Then we get a scene of a bunch of FBI agents walking off a roof, và it’s eerily similar to lớn a scene from The Happening. That’s not a good thing! Of course we see the blood và gore as they hit the ground, because a heart attack just wasn’t gory enough for an American film.

Light Turner is furious that Ryuk killed the FBI agents, because Light is the good guy in this movie, you see. Even though in the anime it was Light who killed Penber. Mia acts more lượt thích the real Light. Ryuk says, “There are no sides—only the game. & I knew eventually you wouldn’t be able lớn handle playing.” Why? Because Light’s so good-hearted and merciful? This movie is determined lớn make the villain into the hero, và it sucks. Ryuk suggests that Light give the chú ý back to him, but Light refuses because he’s afraid of what someone else would vày with the power. This is because Light is the nhân vật in this version, you see.

Light’s father holds a press conference, goading Kira, daring him to lớn retaliate. Light refuses to lớn kill his own father.

“We’re not killing my dad! Mia, this is over! Ryuk fucked us! We’re not the good guys anymore.”

This scene is terrible. Light Turner is the exact opposite of Light Yagami. In the anime, Light never wavers in his belief in his own moral superiority.

L Confronts Kira


I know this is a hundred-minute movie, but I feel lượt thích L figures out that Light is Kira a bit too quickly. L confronts Light in a coffee shop and, being uncharacteristically straightforward, tells him that he’s a hundred percent certain that Light is Kira. Light, rather than feigning ignorance, comes back with a threat. O, man! This Light is an idiot!

“What if it turned out that all arresting Kira did was give that power lớn someone else, someone potentially much worse?”

Well, that cleared it up; Light is officially the good guy in this pathetic excuse for a film.

“I’m suggesting maybe what you và the person you’re after want isn’t so different, và maybe they’re as ready to see the killing over as you are.”

What happened to the Light whose god complex prevented him from seeing how evil he was becoming? What about the Light who believed that he was justice and that anyone who questioned him was, by definition, evil? Also… Nat Wolff’s performance—there’s something wrong with it. Mia và Light kiss in the rain after Mia tells Light she loves him. Light writes Watari’s alias in the Death Note, & somehow it works despite Watari’s real name being Quillish Wammy. This is part of a plan to lớn find out L’s real name, but it’s so convoluted & stupid that I won’t get into it.

The Rules of the Death Note

In the movie, instead of the cảnh báo defaulting lớn a heart attack as it does in the anime, it turns out that if you don’t write the cause of death, it’s “dealer’s choice.” Let’s just get this film over with.

It also turns out that the American filmmakers were so unimaginative that they had to add a loophole so one might survive having their name written in the Death Note. In the movie, if you burn the page containing the name, the person will be spared. I cannot describe how stupid this is. Even stupider is that Light, being the moral và merciful anh hùng in this version, plans khổng lồ burn the page containing Watari’s name so he won’t die after revealing L’s name. This isn’t Light! This isn’t Death Note! This is a bad American superhero film!

“If the person who writes a name destroys its page prior lớn the death being carried out, the target will be spared.”

Firstly, this conflicts directly with one of the real Death note rules. Secondly, keep the wording in mind; it’s going khổng lồ come back to bite this movie in the arse later.

Once Watari disappears, L starts acting illogically & out of character. L has cameras placed all over Light’s house, and I thought that at least there’d be a scene where Light takes a potato chip… and eats it! Clearly I’d forgotten what movie I’m watching. While they prepare for the Homecoming dance, Mia reveals to lớn Light that she stole the Death Note.

Kira the Superhero

We cut to the dance, và I was hoping they’d be playing The WORLD by Nightmare, which—in case you’ve not seen the anime—is the theme song. That would have been a nice nod khổng lồ the original even if the rest of the movie were still crap. Apparently even that was too much to ask. While at the dance, Light discovers that Mia has stolen a page from the notebook. Mia reveals that she was the one who killed the FBI agents và that she’s written Light’s name in the Death chú ý and will only destroy the page if he gives her the rest of the notebook.

“Are you insane? bởi vì you think that I would ever let you near that thing again?”

Meanwhile, Watari gets shot by peelers or something.

Light’s Plan

Light scrambles to lớn write a bunch of names into the notebook và then texts Mia to meet him at the ferris wheel. Because the Death chú ý in the movie is all-powerful, he’s able khổng lồ write that Mia will die và Light will survive.

Then we get a drawn-out oto chase where L tries to shoot Light with a gun. This is because this is an American movie, and American movies need bad action scenes that vị little—if anything—for the plot. Light knocks stuff over lớn slow L down, apologizing profusely. Before L gets the chance to avenge Watari, a Kira supporter hits him over the head. Light & Mia get on the ferris wheel and Light says that they need khổng lồ stop killing people.

“Let’s just run away together & never use the Death cảnh báo again!”

This scene is awful. It’s an insult to the source material. Light tells Mia that he wrote her name in the book, và the stated motivation makes absolutely no sense. Moving on.

The Ferris Wheel


The ferris wheel starts lớn fall, and it is revealed that Ryuk was the one who made it fall. I don’t know how he’s supposed to lớn have done that, but he does. Just as Light wrote in the Death Note, Mia falls from the ferris wheel lớn her death và the page with Light’s name on it falls into a burning trashcan. Light survives the fall because the Death chú ý is all-powerful in this movie. In other words, Light saves his own life by burning the page.


Now, the stupid movie rule states that “If the person who writes a name destroys its page prior to the death being carried out, the target will be spared.” Well, Mia wrote Light’s name in the Note, & then Light burned the page. The person who wrote the name didn’t destroy the page, so why the hell did it work? This movie doesn’t even follow its own rules! I just want it to lớn be over.

Light’s father finally figures out that his idiot son is Kira and confronts him. Light reveals how he survived and killed Mia, saying,

“It’s like you said… sometimes you gotta choose the lesser of two evils.”

His father replies,

“Which one are you, son?”

Then the movie just ends. It’s implied that L might write Light’s name in the Death Note, but it’s not shown.

A Really, Really Bad Adaptation

What else can I say about this movie? Don’t watch it! Speaking of not watching things, I’m pretty sure that whoever was responsible for the script never watched the anime. I can’t help but wonder if it’s got something to do with groups of Americans loving capital punishment so much—is this how the filmmakers saw Light Yagami? I mean, it’s pretty clear that Light’s the villain, but Netflix somehow didn’t get the memo! Let me be clear; Light is not a superhero. Indeed, he’s more of a super-villain! Light didn’t use the death note because he wanted khổng lồ avenge his mother; he did it because he was bored! Light’s character has been changed at his most basic level, from a proactive character khổng lồ a strictly reactive one.

Netflix Screwed Up

Aside from some production values lượt thích camerawork, which are okay, pretty much everything about this movie is wrong. The music being terrible is just a footnote in this thing. Every character is bastardized, whitewashed, and turned into a Hollywood superhero movie cliché. It fails as a movie. Worse, it fails as an adaptation! Worst of all is the main character; I expected Netflix khổng lồ try and make Light sympathetic, but I didn’t expect they’d make him the hero. This movie is lượt thích if some American decided lớn make a Fullmetal Alchemist movie with Our Father as the hero. In fact, even the awful 2003 adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist (the one that ended with a portal to lớn pre-war Germany) was better than this! Is Netflix’ American version of Death chú ý as bad as M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender? Of course not! It is, however, the latest in a long line of horrible attempts by Americans lớn adapt anime khổng lồ a western audience who’d be better off just watching the dub.

What Now?

After watching this abomination twice, I know exactly what I need to lớn wash the taste from my mouth. I need to watch the anime again, & I suggest you bởi the same. If you’re interested in this movie, I beg you—skip it & watch the anime instead. If you’re a fan hâm mộ of the manga or anime & have just seen this American disgrace, re-read/re-watch the real Light Yagami’s decent into near-pure evil. If you just saw this film and haven’t seen the anime, please don’t let this appalling film turn you off it. Now I’ve said all I needed khổng lồ get off my chest, I’m going to lớn sit down with a bag of parsnip chips, turn on the TV, watch a bit of the Death lưu ý anime, take a parsnip chip, & eat it.

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