‘Death Note’ fails to live up to anime novel

By Nicole Zamlout
Correspondent

More often than not, a live action movie based on any type of animation, be it traditional or anime, is going to have a few hiccups.

However, on Aug. 25th, the Netflix Original film “Death Note,” which was based on an anime of the same title, did not. It instead proceeded to throw up all over itself.

The plot line should have been intriguing — a boy is handed a magical book that can kill the person whose name is written inside it. The boy then uses the book to become Kira, a supposed spirit of justice alongside of his girlfriend Mia.

You would think that this concept would make a gripping movie. But several factors play into its demise.

First was the acting: The actors did not truly understand the depth and complexity of the characters they were playing, making their performances very one note and almost cartoonish. Yes, this was based on an anime, but that does not excuse the characters for acting like it. It takes place in the real world, and real people do not act like cartoons.

Take for example the protagonist, Light. His motivations to help people are very scarcely seeded. In the anime book his character

Light encounters a sinister notebook that wreaks havoc over his life. (YouTube)

is based on, he spirals into a maniac with a god complex, which makes him an interesting protagonist.

 

Instead we get a whiny teenager who has no idea what to do when everything starts going downhill, and he just becomes pushed around by forces out of his control.

How are we supposed to be fascinated and somewhat disturbed by this character when he is nothing more than some kid playing with fire, instead of a man with a dark understanding of reality that may be mirrored by any one of us?

Second, the motivations. The characters’ motivations are paper thin, and the reactions to these said motivations are also unrealistic.

The character of Mia, Light’s girlfriend, clearly loves the power trip she gets from the note and is only using Light to keep it in her life. But the moment she claims to love him, he instantly forgives her and any decisions she made without him.

The editing of the film was also strangely paced. It focused on random parts while skipping over important details and moments.

Also, the gore in the film was excessive for no reason.

Gore can be a jarring aspect to a film when done right, but when thrown in at random intervals, it does nothing but disgust and distract.

In short, a movie that could have been an interesting study into the nature of innocence and justice became a cheap knockoff of a popular anime.

This film just wanted to shock and entertain rather than dive into the ethical and moral debates its predecessor pushed to the audience. Due to that, this film may as well have written its own name into the “Death Note.”