Death Note (Netflix)

I watched the Americanized Death Note movie, the Netflix original. (Yes, I have seen the anime.)

In this version, Light screams like a girl when Ryuk shows up, and then, having never spoken to Mia before, he tells her that he killed two people within minutes of meeting her! She is a total stranger, and he just up and tells her he acquired the power of life and death! Light is a wimpy dumbass in this adaptation! (Mia is this version's Misa, but now she's cheerleader, which isn't a bad change.)

L is an emotional hothead now. He's supposed to be a master of deduction, the world's best detective, but he doesn't do any of that. L would never pick up a gun and go out on a vengeful rampage to shoot Light! That's not who he is! L has a great mind, always has a plan, so very little catches him off guard. This version of L never seems to have a plan, and everything catches him off guard.

Neither Light nor L is in control, and this is the most aggravating part of the movie. These two supposed masterminds are completely out of control the whole time, while their assistants are more confident and very much in control! Mia outsmarts Light several times. Light confesses to being Kira every time someone confronts him about it. He doesn't even act confident when under pressure; this version of Light is a total pushover. Really, Mia is a better Light than Light is! She is confident! She takes control! She thinks one step ahead of the cops! She takes action! She wants to decide who lives and who dies! That's what Light is supposed to be! Why wasn't any of this in Light's character?

I didn't have high hopes for it when I found out the idea was being remade for American audiences. I knew they'd fuck it up. The only thing it got right was Ryuk's voice, and he's barely in the movie. Even taking it as its own thing, there is too much plot crammed into such a small space, making it feel like no plot at all, and the characters are neither believable nor likable. How can we possibly believe Light becomes a serial killer with the power of a god of death when he withers under the slightest pressure and is outsmarted at every turn? How can we possibly believe L is a hyper-intelligent superhuman when he cracks under pressure so easily? The whole series is about a power struggle between two masterminds, but in the Netflix movie, they are downright incompetent.

The movie is a cheap B-movie version of the concept. Skip it.


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