Netflix's Death Note Live Action Adaptation

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Re: Netflix's Death Note Live Action Adaptation

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Postby Chuckman » Fri Aug 25, 2017 10:39 pm

I saw it tonight and I can't read it as anything but a parody of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man. The casting choice certainly helps.

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Re: Netflix's Death Note Live Action Adaptation

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Postby Ray » Sat Aug 26, 2017 3:01 pm

Before you judge it too harshly I have to ask this. if you completely divorced it from The Source material. If Death Note the Manga and Anime had never existed and this was the first thing ever created with the name Death Note in it. Purely on its own merits as a movie, and not as an adaptation of a much better Source material is it at least a decent late-afternoon time-waster?
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Re: Netflix's Death Note Live Action Adaptation

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Sat Aug 26, 2017 4:06 pm

^ Gendo'sPapa didn't care for the anime, so I can't imagine him having any higher standards for the Netflix movie based upon that.
Last edited by FreakyFilmFan4ever on Sat Aug 26, 2017 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Netflix's Death Note Live Action Adaptation

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Postby Gendo'sPapa » Sat Aug 26, 2017 4:53 pm

As Freaky said, I am not a fan of the anime so I went into this pretty open minded as a fan of Adam Wingard. I wanted the Netflix film to be a new experience that takes the broad strokes of the original and then play its own game, like how The Departed took the core of Infernal Affairs - Two Moles against one another - and then created a whole new experience that was identifiably an original work.

Problem is the Netflix movie, while very much doing its own thing on a micro level which I appreciated (I.E. Light is not an over-the-top super genius who plays mindgames thirty five steps ahead of all other players on the field, instead he's just a random self-centered & not particularly well-liked average teenager OR Misa in the show was an empty airhead vessel devoid of actual thought while the Netflix version is very much a sociopath with her own agency), the major mistake the movie made was in attempting to adapt the entire story in 90 minutes. And shooting almost everything in dutch angles too, never a good sign.

What this means is the entire narrative is on fast forward to the detriment of character and tone. Just like the subpar show, the movie jumps over the most interesting concept of the Death Note - how would a book with this power corrupt someone; in the show Light starts off as a psychopath and in the Netflix movie Light is already an early sociopath - so it can get to things like Kira & the conflict with L. This means there's no character/emotional arch in the feature and instead is just a collage of plot points. Light commits his first murder by minute 10, has embraced the Death Note entirely by minute 20, the Kira cult has taken over the world by minute 30 (never mind how, just go with it), is at war with L by minute 40, they've met face-to-face by minute 50 & we're in the third act final night by the hour mark. By trying to squeeze all this into a 90 minute narrative it means the movie has scenes of people plotting & committing mass murder in one scene immediately followed by a jokey moment within the span of thirty seconds. It's a movie on hyper speed that never takes a moment to establish the world it takes place in. In the third act there being "Followers of Kira" affects the plot in a big way but because the movie has never had time to even hint at this before it comes out of nowhere. Not that it's major in the movie but this inability to create a world sure doesn't help the movie against the justified claims of whitewashing because while an adaptation like The Departed takes time to make it be a movie ABOUT Boston this movie never spends time to justify why it needs to be set in Seattle with white protagonists. Seattle is apparently just a pier and some wet slums.

As a film its hurt by trying to be its own thing but then also trying to lift plot points from the original source material. Instead of being its own thing it ends up being a work that is bi-polar and at odds with its self. Without having seen the original I feel I would have been lost. It's a mish mash of a film that is ultimately too mediocre to recommend. There are beats that work - there's joy in the dumb Final Destination like kills, Willem Dafoe is a blast in his five minutes of screentime and Lakeith Stanfeld really has the makings of a movie star, the score is nice as a John Carpenter knock-off - but its ultimately a wet noodle of a story. It's a montage of plot points and not a story. As a movie it feels like when my 6 year old nephew tells me about the book they read in class, it's a lot of "and then" with zero "therefore" or "because of...". As in "Light gets a book and then he meets a monster and then he kills a guy and then he becomes Kira and then another guy comes in to fight him and then...." instead of "Light gets a book and because of this he is introduced to a monster who offers him the power to kill people. Because of this he commits his first murder and this experience affects him so much her therefore....".

Trying to squeeze everything into one movie is made especially odd because in the end things are left wide open for a sequel and in fact Netflix wants to make a trilogy of these. Death Note 2017 is not a standalone film but the start of a much larger story & because the story in this first film was so fast & on auto-pilot you're left feeling empty. A shame. Plus you're left confounded when the last scene features talk of mass murder & then jumps right into a blooper reel during the final credits.

My not being a fan of the Death Note anime means this film just disappointed me as a fan of the filmmakers. Oh well, if you have a Netflix account you should give it a watch to form your own opinions. It is only 90 minutes & you're already paying for it. Or maybe wait the year or two it takes for Netflix to put together an eventual Death Note II.

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Re: Netflix's Death Note Live Action Adaptation

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Postby Chuckman » Sat Aug 26, 2017 9:07 pm

View Original PostRay wrote:Before you judge it too harshly I have to ask this. if you completely divorced it from The Source material. If Death Note the Manga and Anime had never existed and this was the first thing ever created with the name Death Note in it. Purely on its own merits as a movie, and not as an adaptation of a much better Source material is it at least a decent late-afternoon time-waster?


It's sloppily paced and full of cliches. The only value in it is that it's basically an anti-superhero film with an ultimately nihilistic overtone.

Also full of baffling film making decisions and general laziness, especially in regards to the protagonist.

I haven't seen the anime or read the manga and I had no knowledge going in other than what you'd pick up about it from memes.

GP, I disagree with you about the protagonist. Making him a tired unpopular nerd cliche is probably the most offensive part of the film.

The general theme of the teen superhero movie is: Don't marginalize and abuse nerds. They might be awesome, or they might be terrible, but ultimately they are people like you and me.

The general theme of this teen superhero movie is: You probably should marginalize nerds.

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Re: Netflix's Death Note Live Action Adaptation

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Postby Sachi » Sat Aug 26, 2017 9:23 pm

I'll watch this later when I get a chance, but i must ask the important question: how is Dafoe?
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Re: Netflix's Death Note Live Action Adaptation

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Postby Chuckman » Sat Aug 26, 2017 9:30 pm

He doesn't go full ham. Imagine the director told him to play the Green Goblin, but not insane, just malicious.

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Re: Netflix's Death Note Live Action Adaptation

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Postby Ray » Sat Aug 26, 2017 9:36 pm

Well that IS Ryuk.
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Re: Netflix's Death Note Live Action Adaptation

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Postby Reichu » Sat Aug 26, 2017 9:37 pm

Just finished it. Thought it was alright, no real strong feelings. Loses its way a bit in the final third and the chase scene went on way too long. Dunno what else to say, really.
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Re: Netflix's Death Note Live Action Adaptation

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:14 pm

Gonna watch it tomorrow. I've never seen the anime nor have I read the manga. I know a few character names and might even be able to recognize their appearances. That's about it. If you want the coldest, illiest-informed review of the movie, I'm your man.

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Postby Chuckman » Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:43 pm

I fasted forwarded through the chase scene.

What I want to know is why that one guy had Deckard's gun.

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Postby CommanderFish » Sun Aug 27, 2017 12:09 am

Gendo'sPapa wrote:Just like the subpar show, the movie jumps over the most interesting concept of the Death Note - how would a book with this power corrupt someone

The show definitely addresses this, but from what I can gather it just didn't do it enough for you. Which I can understand. But it was still my main takeaway from the whole thing -- the ease at which absolute power can corrupt (absolutely).

As for the movie: it sounds like something I can just watch in the background, if I do at all. I'm a little disappointed -- I prefer movies to be good in general -- but I didn't really have too high expectations for it to begin with.

Overly-quick pacing really is the number one determinant for me not getting invested in a story, though. :irked:
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Postby Gendo'sPapa » Sun Aug 27, 2017 12:40 pm

Nonsense. The show never once addresses the moral issues of a Death Note in any real fashion. In fact, when it comes to all moral & philosophical discussions the show is a complete failure. The Death Note is a plot device, the MacGuffin of the narrative, little else. The show never deals with the Death Note morally corrupting someone because they all start out as awful caricatures from the start. Light Yamagi begins the show as a high-functioning sociopath with traits of antisocial personality disorder, narcissistic visions of grandeur and an overall unhealthy feeling of self-importance. This is the speech he gives at the end of Episode 1:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSPX4x7ZfjE&t=5s

Light has no character arch throughout the show because there's no actual character there. He's a vehicle for the plot because he is the definition of a high-functioning sociopath. He has no emotional guide and cares about nothing but his own personal gain. Light STARTS the show as a crazed sociopath who views himself as better than everyone else and worthy of dealing out judgment on all those he sees beneath him and he ENDS the show as a crazed sociopath who views himself as better than everyone else and worthy of dealing out judgment on all those he sees beneath him. There's nothing there for the Death Note to corrupt. He never refuses to use the Death Note on any moral grounds because other human beings aren’t people to him. Their deaths mean nothing. There’s no identifiable course of action or changes to chart his evolution (or de-evolution) from one mindset to the other. He was always a crazy murderer at heart even if he wasn't aware of it; he just didn't have the tool to make it come true.

The show then proceeds to just give the Death Note to people who are already crazy whether it be the empty vessel (Misa was a non-character with no personal agency besides getting her man), the corrupt businessman who puts his own needs above all others or the crazed psychopath (not sociopath) who lumps everyone into GOOD or EVIL already. To actually deal with someone being corrupted by the Death Note the show would have to have a character start out with one mindset - killing others is wrong - and then be seduced or swayed by the Death Note & circumstance over time to where suddenly "killing others is okay because of....". At most the show deals with the ramifications of a Death Note by having some of the ancillary detective characters say things like "Yeah, I'd never use it cause that's bad" OR "You know, maybe I’d use it, but I don't bruh." The show doesn't want to deal with the sticky moral quandaries of what a Death Note entails because all that really matters in the story they’re telling is the twisty-turvy game of cat-&-mouse between Light & whatever Super Detective he's up against.

Which is perfectly fine. It just ultimately wasn't for me. When I found the character dynamics of the show to be lacking and the plot to be so repetitive I was left even more letdown because the show dangles that fascinating totem of intellectual discourse in front of you and proceeds to use it as nothing more than a MacGuffin.

Saying DEATH NOTE (anime & Netflix film, can't comment on the other versions) properly deals with the moral questions raised by the Note itself would be like saying Neon Genesis Evangelion deals with depression if Shinji is all joyful & full of smiles for the entire show but was a bit sad in one scene during episode 1. NGE commits to being about something more than giant robots fighting monsters. Death Note never commits to being more than a fun detective hunting the baddies story. And that's okay.

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Re: Netflix's Death Note Live Action Adaptation

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Postby imprimatur13 » Sun Aug 27, 2017 1:57 pm

View Original PostGendo'sPapa wrote:There's nothing there for the Death Note to corrupt. He never refuses to use the Death Note on any moral grounds because other human beings aren’t people to him. Their deaths mean nothing. There’s no identifiable course of action or changes to chart his evolution (or de-evolution) from one mindset to the other. He was always a crazy murderer at heart even if he wasn't aware of it; he just didn't have the tool to make it come true.


Umm... if I might interject here: In the first chapter or 2 of the manga (at least), Light uses the DN to protect a girl who was in danger of being mugged/raped. He's then absolutely SHOCKED when the guy actually gets hit by a truck and dies. He then goes through a moral crisis ("I killed him?"), and then he justifies his action as having been for the sake of justice. After which, he finally decides to remake the world in his image. So, there's your de-evolution from one mindset to the other.

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Postby Gendo'sPapa » Sun Aug 27, 2017 2:29 pm

As I stated, I was talking about the anime + Netflix film, bringing in the manga is inconsequential to talking about the adaptations.

BUT if Light's entire mission of killing everyone he deems unworthy of life is made up & he never questions it again by the end of chapter 2 in a manga that lasts (looks at Wikipedia) 108 chapters then I rest my case. He isn't really wrestling with the concept of the Death Note or the act of murder if it only takes him a few pages/one afternoon in story time to make up his mind. Not even 1% of the narrative has occurred at that point when he's set on course. The narrative does not want to deal with the Death Note on any moral or philosophical level. The writing intentionally makes the character a high-functioning sociopath so they don't have to deal with anything but the plot. Which is fine. But you can't claim the manga/show/whatever to be what it isn't. It's a fun detective/serial killer story. Nothing more.
Last edited by Gendo'sPapa on Sun Aug 27, 2017 2:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby imprimatur13 » Sun Aug 27, 2017 2:31 pm

Hmm... I see your point. Ok then.
(Btw, I do agree wholeheartedly with the last line. It's a thriller, you're not meant to sympathize with Light, etc.)

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Postby Gendo'sPapa » Sun Aug 27, 2017 2:34 pm

Thanks.

I am shocked though to see a lot of people online sympathize with the anime version of Light. I found him an odious person devoid of positive character traits by the end of the first episode. He represents the worst of humanity. I'm left wary of viewers who watch the entire show & then walk away saddened that their "hero" ended up "losing".

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Postby imprimatur13 » Sun Aug 27, 2017 2:59 pm

Indeed.
See, to me (I know I'm going OT, but) that's the main difference between Light and Lelouch. Light is a bad guy. He's not likeable. His is a classic story of how absolute power corrupts absolutely. Code Geass is completely different. Lelouch manages not to sell his soul to Geass, and remains a (fairly) good guy, with understandable motivations, right up to the end. He's still a magnificent bastard, and he definitely has a certain... flair, but he is a good guy.
I grew to love Lelouch, and to share his joys and sorrows with him. Death Note is a great story, but they never got that from me. As it says on the back of Vol. 1, it's a suspense story.

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Re: Netflix's Death Note Live Action Adaptation

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Postby pwhodges » Sun Aug 27, 2017 3:12 pm

View Original PostGendo'sPapa wrote:I am shocked though to see a lot of people online sympathize with the anime version of Light. I found him an odious person devoid of positive character traits by the end of the first episode. He represents the worst of humanity. I'm left wary of viewers who watch the entire show & then walk away saddened that their "hero" ended up "losing".

This. (and his previous posts). Awful series around an awful character.
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Re: Netflix's Death Note Live Action Adaptation

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Postby Sachi » Sun Aug 27, 2017 3:53 pm

Light is an interesting character study of what one would do when given power in exchange for morality. At his core, Light is a problem solver, and through his eyes he sees a world in need of fixing. When he's given the Death Note, he sees a potential solution to the world's problems, and his narcissism allows him to believe he's capable of doing so. So he goes for it, and the rest of the series is his slow corruption into a tyrant. I find Light sympathizable to an extent, but then again many villains are. No, the reason I rooted for Light was because he was the bad guy, and because I wanted him to win, or at least go out with a bang trying. I remember being a little underwhelmed by the anime ending, but upon rewatching the series years later it's rather fitting: Light dies a pathetic, painful death, knocked off his pedestal and stripped of his control.

Watched the Netflix adaptation last night when I got home. Ehhhh It wasn't terrible. I liked some of the choices they made, but it was a very odd movie. Not only the pacing, but the music, the visuals, everything. Light is very much a non-character, with his only real motivation having to do with his mother.
SPOILER: Show
She was killed, killer got away with it. Light is resentful. This was one of the good choices, IMO, and establishes an emotional reason to use the book. However, it was not executed to its potential. It does create an interesting dynamic with the father though.
Beyond that, Light is a blank slate pushed around by other characters. Upon receiving the book, he requires extra motivation by Ryuk to test it out the first time. IIRC, in the anime, it was his own morbid curiosity that caused him to test it. Although Mia is a highly improved version of Misa, I dislike the way her and Light bonded. Light overtly uses the book to seduce Mia, rather than Mia already being interesting in the book. Once bonded, however I found their dysfunctional relationship compelling and thought the sexual fetish of killing people neat. L was interesting at first, his mannerisms and expressions were spot on, but he lost me around the chase scene. Crazy bastard. Watari, though, was awesome. I'm disappointed with the cheap CGI they used for Ryuk. He didn't do anything a dude in a suit couldn't, and seeing Dafoe in make-up would have been way more convincing. Voice work by Dafoe was decent; he fits the role like a glove, but he doesn't get a chance to go crazy. I was rolling my eyes during the climax, however the final scene sort of made up for that by giving us that classic Death Note tomfuckery we've all grown to love. I am interested to see what uncharted territories they're planning to explore now if they do get the sequels.
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