Death Note: L Change the World (2008)
"L: Change the World" (original title)

 |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  2009 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 5,396 users  
Reviews: 31 user | 29 critic

A spin-out sequel to the popular Japanese thriller. This time it focuses on the character "L."



(story), (story), 2 more credits »
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Credited cast:
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sota Aoyama ...
Detective Matsuda
Shunji Fujimura ...
Mayuko Fukuda ...
Maki Nikaido
Narushi Fukuda ...
Sei Hiraizumi ...
Shigeki Hosokawa ...
Renji Ishibashi ...
Yûta Kanai ...
Dr. Mikiko Kujo
Bokuzô Masana ...
Thomas J. Melesky ...
Arms Dealer (voice)
Ryuuk (voice)


A spin-off of the popular Death Note films, 'L: Change The World' focuses on the legendary detective L as he uses his final 23 days to solve crimes all over the world. When a young girl and boy come to him for aid, L is soon faced with what may be his most difficult case yet: stopping a group of corrupted scientists from spreading a lethal virus throughout the earth. Written by Morticon

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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The final death note showdown!


Crime | Drama | Thriller


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Release Date:

2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Death Note 3  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The robot that L gives Near at the end of the movie is the same robot that is shown in the anime series that belongs to Near. See more »


When the necklace is passed and the shot changes angle, the necklace changes from stuffed in the hand to neatly dangling. See more »


L: [to Suruga] I'm glad I trusted you.
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the credits there is a scene showing L sitting on a chair eating chocolate. He then turns around and walks off. It then says L Lawliet rests in peace. See more »


Follows Death Note (2006) See more »


I'll be waiting
Song by Lenny Kravitz
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User Reviews

A step down
12 July 2008 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Living up to the excellence of Shusuke Kaneko's Death Note films was always going to be a daunting task. The makers of this film responded to this challenge by avoiding it.

The film's prominent ties to its predecessors, most notably the inclusion of several characters and events from them, are entirely superficial, and I was left with the distinct impression that Nakata's primary desire was to make a bioterrorism thriller, with the Death Note movies and the character of L serving merely as convenient springboards.

After going to the trouble of hiring several actors to reprise their roles, (Such as Erika Toda as Misa, Asaka Seto as Naomi Misora, and Shunji Fujimura) their characters are criminally underused. This is not just lazy, it is cruel. It's the equivalent of dangling food in front of a starving dog only to pull it away after only letting them lick it. Even the unperceptive viewer can tell these are blatant attempts to fake a connection which is essentially nonexistent.

The sheer magnitude of neglected opportunities to capitalise on the wealth of plot and character established by the Death Note films is staggering. A event as stupendous as Kira's reign of death would have a lasting effect on society; the Death Note films show the beginnings of this, with people divided over whether his actions were right, and many supporting him to a religious degree. Yet in L: Change the WorLd, its almost as if none of it had ever happened. Life goes on as usual, with scarcely a mention of the monumental upheaval the world has just undergone. This also could've provided many interesting possibilities, such as the Kira cult becoming involved in the plot, or characters such as Misa and Ryuk playing new roles and continuing to develop. Apparently, Nakata couldn't care less.

What's more, he can't resist falling back on his roots as a horror director, and is determined to scare the audience with the victims of the virus. Unfortunately, the result is corniness rather than adrenaline. The rest if the time, he's either plodding through the drama on autopilot, or inserting light comedy in a haphazard manner.

The writing isn't much better. The script is brimming with trite clichés, yet is oblivious to this and makes no effort to put a fresh spin on them. It has some admirable aspirations, namely its attempts to explore L's human side, and capture the topical issues of terrorism and the Bird Flu/SARS scares in the same way that its prequels addressed justice and the death penalty, but in execution it fails. Overall, it largely plays like amateur fanfiction, overusing the surface strengths of the originals (namely L's eccentricity) while losing its deeper strengths. Interesting ideas are left to rot on a compost heap of generic characters, messy plotting, and lame attempts to emulate the excesses of the typical Hollywood action movie.

To his immense credit, Kenichi Matsuyama lifts L above this malaise and squeezes a river of blood from the stony script in his typically witty and charismatic performance. Once again, he embodies the character down to his finest mannerisms, and makes like he just crept off the set of The Last Name. True, his English skills are modest, but this is actually believable; I met many Japanese people who spoke in this way during my time in Japan.

Sadly, however, much the use of English throughout the film is reminiscent of the Heisei Godzilla series in its grating inanity. Also, the Japanese performances outside of Matsuyama range from decent, (Fukuda Mayuko as Maki) to downright cheesy. (Most of the villains) Even Erika Toda as Misa had none of the spark Kaneko drew out of her in the prequels during her brief cameo.

Even Death Note veteran Kenji Kawai's score, while certainly not bad, is a far cry from his work on the previous films, though largely because he's mostly forcibly limited to low key background music and the long periods of sluggish silence Nakata so adores. He finally finds a chance to shine towards the end, where he provides two impressive pieces; an epic cue that accompanies L's arrival at the climax, and a melancholy piece that fits the fittingly touching conclusion nicely.

Cinematography is also a step down, losing the smooth, rich clarity of the Death Note movies for a dry and altogether bland visual style.

Thankfully it's not all doom and gloom; there's some good apples among the piles of rotten ones. As mentioned previously, the ending is suitably poignant, though the tears it almost brought to my eyes are due primarily to my love of and familiarity with the character. I also laughed aloud at several of L's displays of quirkiness, and flushed with joy at the rare but delicious moments of Death-Note-style "intellectual pwnage." The opening title sequence is slick and classy, capturing the feel of its predecessors wonderfully.

The FX are strong for a Japanese film, and are actually slightly more advanced than those of the first two films. The destruction of the infected village is vivid and impressive, and the practical effects for virus's symptoms are mostly well done. Ryuk's execution via CGI during his brief appearance is about on par with his previous incarnations.

But you know something's wrong when your counting the good moments rather than the bad ones.

In the end, the film's highlights are like sweet chocolate chips in a bitter and mouldy cookie. It succeeds as fanservice and as cold commercial calculation, but fails as art, entertainment, or storytelling. It's an awful shame, because with the ingredients left by its marvellous predecessors, it could have been truly great.

24 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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