What’s the best way to get the girl you like and talked to for the first time? Show her a book that kills people.
This is a review from someone who never watched anime or read the manga. Just a few bits of information picked up over the years. Therefore there will be no pin-pointing the change in characters or any comparisons.
That said, it doesn’t mean I can’t point out the flaws in general.
Light Turner’s life goes from doing homework for money to killing those he believes deserve it. When a book by the name of Death Note literally falls out of the sky he’s confused at first. Then a god by the name of Ryuk enters and explains it’s purpose.
Write the name of the person, have their face in your mind, the way they are going to die, and watch it happen.
I love this premise. It makes you conflicted about the character and think if they’re doing the right thing. It also makes you wonder if you could do it. At one point will the Death Note be the end of someone? Do you settle to petty thieves or go above and beyond to world-known terrorists?
Speaking of character.
Light is a high school student where kids can get punched and the principal doesn’t care. Why is this a thing in movies and TV? This is just a small pet peeve but why does the principal never give a shit an obvious student is bullying others? All it takes is him giving two shits and the first death never happens.
Moving on. Light is still dealing with the death of his mom whose killer is walking free. He tries to stand up for others and is a bright student. I couldn’t decide if I liked Light. I get what he wanted: to rid the world of bad people and scare others. If the movie is just Light dealing with the downfall of his choices I this may be a different review.
But let me get to the very beginning of this post. The love interest.
To put this out there, I can’t stand forced love interests. The first five minutes of the movie shows Light’s soon-to-be girlfriend Mia. She’s a cheerleader who smokes and doesn’t really give a shit. Revolutionary.
It takes Light less than five sentences to tell Mia about the Death Note. Maybe he just wanted to tell someone, but we all know why. Mia shows an interest in Light, for some reason. Over time Mia becomes the ringleader behind the scenes.
I thought that was Ryuk’s job.
And to Segway with that…Ryuk is a god of death who bestows the Death Note to another after the previous owner dies or separates from the book. A cuddly character he isn’t. He wants Light to use the book but does warn him from time-to-time things can get out of hand. As for the look of Ryuk compared to the original it’s pretty good. I did feel like he didn’t show up that often, or as often as I’d like. Maybe to get a break from the blooming romance of Light and Mia.
L is a detective wanting to reveal the identity of the Kira, or the alias Light goes by as he does his killings. L’s been trained most of his life to be the best at what he does. It doesn’t take him long to put the pieces together and discover Light is behind it all. I liked L. He’s eccentric and just wants to get the job done. And his relationship with his guardian (handler) Watari is the best damn relationship in the movie.
A side character I began to like is Light’s dad, James. He also wants to find Kira and at first seems a bit distant to Light. I got worried this would turn into one of those stories with a dad who just doesn’t understand his son, but he’s protective and a good cop and I think wants to understand Light.
As I said, I didn’t watch the anime, however I think the romance made or broke the movie. For me. I like the premise and the actors are good. Willem Defoe’s voice gets to me every time. He creeped me out as a kid with his Goblin voice and does to this day.
But the damn relationship. The story is revolved around this. I didn’t particularly like Mia. I didn’t particularly like them making out in every other scene as they decide who to kill. In the end I couldn’t tell if she cared about him at all or wanted the power to herself.
If you watched the anime and are a fan, don’t watch this. I don’t even need to see reviews from fans to know this is far off from the original source. The characters are decent but the romance behind it all brings the story down. Instead of Light making decisions for himself he confines in his girlfriend.
Even the ending confused the hell out of me. It just stopped. I suspected a Marvel ending to pop up during the credits. Is it supposed to end that way? An actual question.
However, the premise does make me want to start the anime and see a good story of someone consumed by the power of life and death. If you’re like me and never saw the anime, just go watch that.
There is a random Masi Oka AKA Hiro appearance, which makes things a bit better, for a moment.