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Not a Single Potato Chip was Eaten! Thoughts on The Netflix Death Note Adaptation.

By Luiggi Cavanna

Let me start with that this is not so much as review but more of comparison between the Netflix original and it’s source material. For a review go check out our local movie critic, Corey Floyd, he wrote an insightful review on this movie. Now let’s get on with this train wreck.

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Two will go in just one will come out... LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!!

I’m going to say this, if you like the manga/anime, you are going to HATE this movie! This is coming from a guy that wrote a blog about how we should give the live action adaptation a chance and that we shouldn’t hate before it comes out. Well it is out now, so we can hate on it.

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L: “Man this movie is ASS!”

Ok! Let's start dissecting this ugly specimen by comparing the characters of the movie with their anime counterparts. What better place to start than with the main protagonist Light!

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I’m going to need a drink….. And I don’t drink!!

Oh boy this is going to be something! The Light from the source material was an incredibly smart student that had no interest in anything or anyone. He only wanted to study, get into the best college of the nation, and probably get into law enforcement like his father. He had strong morals but he also had a bit of a superiority complex, and that combination of traits form a God complex the moment he acquired immense power in the form of the Death Note.

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Now that I see this image, there was no religious symbolism in the Netflix version huh?

Anime Light went to great lengths to keep his identity a secret, he even created a little contraption in the drawer where he kept the Death Note. If anyone else were to find it, the thing would’ve burn away. Remember the Death Note was tremendously valuable to him, but he value his life a bit more. Now movie Light…

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Mia: “What’s that?”
Light: “The thing I use to kill people, would you let me smash?”

Immediately the day after getting the Death Note, Light decides to sit in the school's gym and read the damn rules of the note there! Then Mia, the Misa Amane replacement, asks him what the thing is. Light tries to say nothing but he promptly spills the beans, presumably to get some ass, which he actually gets because Mia is into murder!

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What the actual FFf….!!

Actually, movie Light is nothing like anime Light! As a matter of fact, the movie portraits him as misguided kid with good intentions. Mia and Ryuk are the ones pushing and influencing him to do the things that he does. The only time he acts like the Light we know, is in the last 10 minutes of the movie. By then it’s a little too late, and it comes out left field due to the fact that he’s been an idiot for the entirety of the movie! But at the very last minute, we see a bit of anime Light and that makes me believe something that I’ll discuss at the end of this article, but I’ll give you a clue now with two words “Origin Story”.

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For now let's talk about this bitch.

Mia has to be the most generic character in this movie, and that’s saying something. She is the typical hot chick that’s into dark stuff and is quick to get drunk with power, you know like the chicks in “The Craft”. It is cool that Mia is more proactive than what Misa was, but it takes away from the character of Light, and we end up with a Bonnie and Clyde pre-teen movie.

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Who does that!!

Mia is a big influence on Light, she even helps him created the “Kira” persona. Nope, it’s not the public that started using that name, THEY created Kira. This changes the dynamic of the relationship because Misa in the anime was one of Kira’s worshipers and that made her completely loyal to Light. Mia, on the other hand, feels like she is in it for the murder, and not only for the criminals, but also for anyone who gets in their way (You know like the Light from the source material!), and she is quick to anger when Light shows hesitation in killing cops and, SPOILER ALERT, she ends up betraying him.

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Oh by the way, they curse a lot in this movie, you know, because they’re edgy.

Mia has no motivation whatsoever to be acting this way! She is just an angsty teenager that wants to see the world burn. On the other hand, Misa from the source material, lost family to crime and the justice system failed her. Kira was the one delivering justice to the criminal that wronged her, and thanks to that she became the second Kira. Even though this is a pre-teen drama, still tries to have some of the “cat and mouse” game elements that made the original so engaging. So we need the cop to try to catch the criminal, and that cop is the world's greatest detective (no, is not Batman).

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It’s “L”

L was actually good, at the beginning. I was really interested in where they were going to take the whole super genius but super weird archetype, and it was going well. Mid way into the movie though, L started to act a bit reckless, nothing to be alarmed I thought, they were going for a more impulsive and passionate L, but that was just a sign of what was to come. L just lost it by the end of the movie, I don’t know how he even manage to solve crimes before this case if he gets this emotional.

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Also he watches too much Naruto.

I don’t have other complaints about L, the movie managed to make him look smart (by this movie’s standards at least), and the actor was doing a good job with what he had, it’s just that the whole battle of wits wasn’t there, mainly because Light was an idiot! Ok it’s time to move on to an internet meme come to life.

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They did it! They actually did it, the absolute madmen!

Willem Defoe had a blast in this movie and you can tell. His performance was great, the problem was, first, he didn’t show up nearly as much as you would’ve liked, and two, it wasn’t Ryuk. I’m not saying that he failed to captured the character, I’m saying that the character in the script wasn’t Ryuk. In the source material Ryuk’s motivation was simple, it was plain old boredom! He dropped his death note in the human world because he wanted to see what would happened. He was tired and bored of the empty existence of the shinigami life and he wanted entertainment.

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“Hey Light, Light! Look at me, I’m JoJo posing!!”

In contrast, the Ryuk from the movie is more malevolent. He incites Light to commit his first murder and is always pushing Light, in a very antagonistic fashion, to just kill people. When Light hesitates he always tell him to return the death note or just give it to Mia, because she seems down with the whole killing indiscriminately thing.

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“Just do it you pussy!”

You know, I gotta say that movie went out of its way to portrait the main character in a good light, see what I did there? Light was a cold, manipulative, bastard with a God complex. He was the protagonist of the series but was no hero, he was the bad guy! Movie Light seemed to be a victim of circumstances, and the people/gods of death around him. Only at the end do we see a bit of the true Light but after so much shit happened to him, it’s almost as if the movie is setting up a sequel and this is Light’s origin story.

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Don’t you dare to make another one!!

The movie does have a resemblems of the original Death Note at the end, but still poorly made. The ending is bad, just like pretty much everything else in the movie, and leaves everything ambiguous enough to possibly make another movie, another bad movie! Why another bad movie you asked? Because unless Light starts the next movie behind bars it would ruin Light’s dad, that for the most part seem like a logical adaptation of a Japanese cop to an American cop. I just wanted to see him smack the crap of Light and send him to his room.

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Pretty much.

So what are my final thoughts? This movie was bad guys, really bad, like, really really really bad. I mean, I can see why someone that has no experience with the source material will find it entertaining, but at the end it’s a movie that you will forget about in a week, unless you’re a fan of the series, then you will always remember this crap! They dumbed down the cat and mouse game and battle of wits, long gone are the philosophical questions about morals and justice, replace by a teen drama with curse words and unnecessary gore… OH MY GOD! It’s Twilight meets Final Destination!

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I’m done….

So what did you think of this movie? Do you think it was ok, or hate it with all of your soul? Let us know. Now I return to the deepest darkest corners of my dwelling. Good-bye for now my friends.

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Man, I have the sudden urge to eat potato chips. Damn you Death Note!!


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