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Just returned from debut of Death Note, and surprisingly I enjoyed it. Manga to big screen adaptations don't always do so well, so I wasn't getting my hopes up over this. All the main characters are portrayed very well by the cast. Yes, even Tatsuya Fujiwara did a great job as the stories protagonist, Yagami Light. However, his rival, played by Ken'ichi Matsuyama was amazing. Completely captured the world's greatest detective's every mannerism with ease. But the true star of this 2 part story is definitely Light's shinigami, Ryuuk. Outstanding job by the CGI crew, and Ryuuk's voice was just as would be imagined in the manga. Can't really give too much away because I'd hate to spoil it for anybody who hasn't read the manga (that being said, definitely read the manga to see what was changed, in my opinion, the changes were overall good, not great, but it won't make you angry) . I guess the main question on everybody's mind would be is the movie better than the manga? No, but in a (about) 2 hour film you couldn't do much better with story. Well worth checking out.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Absolute power corrupts absolutely, so goes the saying.
What happens if you have the power to bring about death to any individual with just the mighty stroke of the pen? How would you use your new found ability? Would you decide to inflict capital punishment and take away lives of criminals, convicted, suspected or otherwise? Would you be the grim reaper, transfixed in your own branding of right and wrong, backed by the power of mortality?
Based on a popular Japanese manga written by Takeshi Obata, Death Note tells the story of the god of death, bored with life, making available his Death Note(book) to the human world. Picked up by aspiring lawyer Light (Tatsuya Fujiwara), he soon finds that the rules written in both English (yes) and Kanji on the inside front cover, actually work - whosoever has his name written inside the book, will meet death via a heart attack. That's just scratching the surface, as Light continues to experiment with the capabilities of the book, as well as to internalize all the rules to call upon some serious manipulation of the rules to work to his advantage.
Why does the book operate with that set of rules, well, that's something you have to accept at face value if you want to enjoy the movie. Starting off with the deaths of criminals as Light experiments, soon the authorities take notice of these mysterious deaths, and launch a nationwide dragnet to hunt down the perpetrator. Foreign help is also called in, and L (Ken'ichi Matsuyama), an unseen and only heard police investigator, gets roped in.
It's a battle of wits as Light tries to keep his Kira persona (given by the press) alive while avoiding being caught by an ever zealous L, as both boys (yes, boys) engage and challenge each other. One to continue utilizing the notebook in more creative ways, while the other trying his best to second guess, and to see through guises and red herrings. Things become more interesting when family ties are involved, and relationships get put to the test in an interesting run up to the final scene. I thought Light's character development was crucial to the movie, and Fujiwara brought that through his role quite effortlessly with his impish looks.
The god of death, a frequent companion of Light, master of the book and actually is the voice of rational thought, is totally CG rendered, which allows for its supernatural movement to be as natural as possible. However, the design does resemble Brian Bolland's Joker with its patsy white face and permanent teeth showing grin, except for its extremely huge spanned wings, and punk like hairdo.
Death Note succeeds in making you sit up on the edge of your seat for the most parts - it does have certain slow moments in the movie which plods the pace down a tad too much. While it presents differing views on capital punishment, the movie itself doesn't suggest which is right or wrong, but is almost adamant in bringing forth the notion of the corruption of power. I haven't read the original manga to do a comparison, but as a movie in itself, it works, given its relatively high production values.
Part 2 is already signed, sealed and soon to be delivered. I can't wait to see how the movie takes off from where it ended. Intriguing, interesting and entertaining stuff!
I dunno why some people think that the CGI of Ryuuk was bad... I thought it was excellent - realistic but not too out of place. It doesn't have physical fights and thrill (and if you've read the manga, you would know). The actor choices were pretty good - Tatsuya Fujiwara was, and still, well-known for his on-stage productions, and Kenichi Matsuyama's (from Nana fame - he was Shinichi, the bass player of the band 'Black Stones')L / Ryuuzaki was awesome! His every 'weird and strange' movements were exactly how I imagined the actual L would be ^-^ If I have to choose one thing negative about this film, it would be the character - Shiori. I have nothing against her, but then again, she was just some additional romance line that the director thought was a good idea. So in the end... if you're a fan of the DN manga, and you don't mind the directors changing the scenes abit, you should definitely give it a try!!
This is the live-action version of the TV anime series, DEATH NOTE.
They are both relatively similar, though the plot lines have been moved
around a bit and a girlfriend was created for the main character,
Light. In the anime and manga, there was no girlfriend and so my purist
daughter complained loudly when she appeared in the film. However, I
advise you to relax and give the film a chance--I actually LOVED what
they did with the lady in the film. Early on, she's about as
superfluous as a vestigial tail, but later she becomes an important
part of the plot--you'll see. But as for the rest of the film, it is
true to the original--Light is an evil piggie and L looks and acts much
like a cockroach (like in the anime).
As for the story itself, it's a pretty hard film to describe for Western audiences. If you are already an anime/manga freak, then you probably will not be scared away by the odd plot line and story elements about the supernatural. However, for the uninitiated, please try to suspend judgment--the film can be enjoyed by anyone--not just anime/manga fans. I am much more of a casual fan of the genre and enjoyed the film immensely. My wife generally hates anime and loved the film. And, my insane "sold my soul to anime" teen loved the film as well. In light of this, I really think this live-action film is good entertainment for all.
One final note is that the guy playing Light's father is Chairman Kaga from Iron Chef. Throughout the film, I kept expecting him to whip out a yellow pepper and eat it, but unfortunately he did not!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Plot: the plot of the movie is relatively straightforward, and follows
the same basic premise as the manga: Yagami Light finds a "Death Note"
dropped by Ryuk, a shinigami (god of death) and decides to use it to
purge the world of criminals. Subsequently, the police and mysterious
detective L begin to track him down. However, it doesn't really get
very far despite its length (over two hours) because it bulks itself
out with an original plot thread - in fact, the movie only gets as far
as Light and L meeting for the first time.
Plot Changes: Chronologically, it's much the same as the manga - but a massive plot alteration comes in the form of original character Shiori. I'm still not entirely sure why they chose to give Light a girlfriend - but she has a major role (along with Naomi, who now has a much bigger role than in the manga) - and an event involving her, Naomi and Light is the climax of the movie.
Misa has a very minor role, although given how little of the manga timeline was covered, it's not really surprising. She only has a couple of scenes, but it's nice to see her. Rem makes no appearance.
I was a little disappointed that they changed one of my favourite scenes - I won't say how in case you haven't read the manga, but Light and L meet in a completely different way. :( There were also a number of weird, irrelevant-seeming changes, as you always get with movie adaptations. :p Such as changing Raye Pember's surname to 'Iwatari', and altering the NPA Kira team to include a woman. Unimportant, but odd to note. :p Acting: On the whole, I think the acting was excellent, and the movie was (mostly) cast brilliantly. Although I still don't think that, visually, Fujiwara makes a very good Light, he was certainly convincing, and does a good evil smirk. :p I think most of the problems I had with Light were down to direction, rather than Fujiwara's acting. (Also, I think it has to be said he does a great job with Ryuk - you can't tell he was acting with a stick at all :p) Personally, I think that Matsuyama really stood out as being plain awesome. :D His L was nigh-on-perfect, and I don't even mean in appearance; the gestures, posture, the way he holds things and his mannerisms in general. Slightly more sullen than I'd expected, but brilliant. (and his love for sweets is still there, and even more emphasised than in the manga. I think he's eating in every scene. xD) Also notable was Seto Asaka - I just think she played Naomi really well, especially within the new role given to the character.
CG: (ie, Ryuk!) :D Ryuk was certainly... interesting. But he's one of my favourite characters in the manga, and I loved what they did with him. His voice is perfect, and appearance-wise, pretty much got him just right. Only problem is, sometimes the CG just doesn't look that good. It varies of course - sometimes it looks amazing, but other times... really not. But on the whole he was done well, considering how surreal his appearance is.
Pacing: The movie has a really interesting opening - you see a hand writing in a book, and then various criminals dying of heart attacks, while their name is 'written' across the screen. Unfortunately, after than I found it a little slow until L showed up (which wasn't until after halfway through) - although perhaps that's due to him being my favourite character. But regardless, since a lot of the movie is just setting things up and exposition for later, it was probably to be expected. That's not to say it isn't interesting, as it is, but... one of the best aspects of Death Note is the interaction between Light and L, and you don't get that until later.
Overall/General: I think it's a great movie, and works with the premise of the manga well, without being slavishly faithful (which is never a good thing :p) However, it does have its problems.
Personally, I wasn't that happy with Shiori's addition to the story. Taken by itself, her plot-thread was actually rather interesting, and a nice idea. However, I felt it altered Light's character too much - his motivations for doing what he does; what he's like as a person. They already changed him by leaving out that part of why he does what he does is because he's bored (Ryuk, too) - and, add Shiori, and you're left with a cold, evil teenager who hates criminals, and apparently seems like he can get close to people. In the movie, I almost think he comes across as too cold-blooded, too soon.
This is all fine if you haven't read the manga, I think, and it's probably brilliant if you can take it for what it is. But... I missed Light's boredom and utter god-complex which was so obvious in the manga. :p And his aloofness - the implication that he wouldn't have a girlfriend because no-one was good enough for him.
Er, but my slight issues with Light's character aside, it's a great movie. xD dark and full of suspense (but with moments of humour... L offering a kebab of sweets and cakes to Chief Yagami in total seriousness comes to mind :D), and very enjoyable. I can't wait for the second half, and I'm really interested to know how they're going to try and resolve it (as, clearly, Death Note actually goes on for five more volumes after where they're intending to stop.) So, despite a few issues... Death Note pt. 1 = awesome. :D
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I haven't seen the anime yet or read the manga but this movie convinces
me to watch the anime version of it. There a lot of people who are
dissatisfied watching it because they got used to the concept and flow
of the original story from anime and manga. These reactions reminded me
of the reviews of other anime-to-movie adaptations like Initial D and
Shinobi.When I compared Initial D movie to anime I was just
disappointed as the others.
This movie has its own story to tell and pleases me to spend my boring afternoon watching the bootleg copy of it. I enjoyed a lot of detective movies and this exceeded my expectations. I saw how Light and L battle their wits using method after method. Light tried so careful not to get caught under L's nose but by doing this L advances closer and closer to get to the conclusion. Characters portrayed well especially L. The CGI-freaked Death god may have some few flaws but fitted well in the scenes where he's needed. Story has their own uniqueness that I nearly sided to the vigilance of Light then found out to myself that I'm now confused for what Light did to escape revealing himself nearly at the end of the movie. L may be freakish but fits well to his demeaning role.
Overall I enjoyed it and planned to watch DS anime to see what is their big difference their talking about. I recommend this for those who like different approach of storytelling especially for those who doesn't have the unbreakable habit of comparing live-action adaptation to anime.
Death Note, the movie I though was amazingly done! For the most part it
stays very close to the manga and keeps true to the general feel of
Death Note. The over all story of DN spans across 8 manga volumes and
how they've compiled them has been quite ingenious, Again keeping with
the feel of Death Note. If you've read the manga, you will notice
certain events, and like with most movies compared to the books, you
can tell where gaps are by poor character development, more times than
not. With Death Note it's merely seamless.
The characters are wonderfully and are perfectly portrayed! Ryuk is outstanding and rather entertaining to watch, especially when he goes into apple withdrawal's.
I saw the movie last night, and I thought it was very good. Repeating
others, it would probably be better to read the manga a bit to see the
changes, but the changes weren't that horrible. Some of the action is a
bit wishy-washy(such as the heart attacks), but L was very good. The
actor definitely captivated you as the character from the anime and
movie. Raito was believable, but he didn't seem as genius as he did in
the movie. The animation on Ryuk was also pretty sweet, only bad in one
or two angles. I definitely can't wait to see "The Last Name". Already
reading the ending, I think the director did a good job in changing
some of the views and order of things.
Overall though, this movie is a must see!!!
Despite what some may say, this is as great as adaptation of the manga
as one could ask for. The actors portray their characters perfectly.
The calm menace of Light is portrayed perfectly, with a clear
distinction between Light and "Kira" Light, which is impressive
considering anime would allow stronger visual cues. L is an honest to
god incarnation of his manga and anime counter part down to the
smallest detail. Ryuk is also impressive, the CGI effects do him
justice and his voice is much better then the one for the subbed anime
which was horrendous.
Now obviously the plot needed to be condensed and changed but they did very well. All the important parts are there and the ending, which strays far from the manga, is actually even better then what actually happened in that instance in the story. It wasn't conveyed the complex story involving a genius highschool student who's use of a notebook that kills people that get's him involved in a proverbial chess match with the detective L, but they did a fine job. Misa, despite her short screen time, acted the part of Misa perfectly, down to the voice.
Fans of the manga should enjoy as long as they don't expect an exact replica of the manga, and fans of thrillers should enjoy this as well.
The pacing was slow at first but as it progressed i was completely
hooked into the this adaptation. I have seen quite a bit of the anime
and it precedes it well, with minor changes. Everything in the movie is
well done and true to the whole concept of the story. The visuals
alright, as well as the acting. It really depends on a viewer on how to
take Deathnote, but to me it's really interesting not to mention
It keeps you wanting more and keeps you on edge on what will happen next. The choices the characters makes and why, reflects our reality in a sense. The plot is simple yet so complex. What really gets to me is the idea of this whole deathnote, a responsibility, a choice, a sacrifice for the sake of one's belief and morals. This is those kind of movies where you tend to think quite deeply in absorbing the story yet allowing yourself to be entertained. Recommended to all. You can't miss this. Something different, interesting.
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