Death Note started out as a manga but expanded into a franchise that includes but is not limited to books, video games, an animated TV show, a live-action TV show, multiple live-action movies, and even a musical in its native Japan. Unsurprisingly, there has been enormous interest in Hollywood in making a western version in the form of a live-action movie of its own, but considering that Death Note reached the height of its popularity around 2007, it should come as no surprise to learn that its development was complicated to say the least. Still, Death Note is expected to see release on August 25, 2017 as a Netflix original, though it remains to be seen whether it will be able to live up to its source material.
Here are 5 things to expect from live action Death Note:
It’s Not Going to End Well
For people who have never heard of Death Note, its basic premise is that a high school student receives a supernatural notebook that can kill a person when their name is written within it. Instead of doing something responsible with said item, said individual decides to start killing criminals for the purpose of creating a world that is perfect to him, which rouses the suspicion of law enforcement agencies who see that something is happening but cannot explain how it is happening. Summed up, it is the classic “power corrupts” scenario, so it should come as no surprise to learn that this setup is not going to end well.
Hollywood being Hollywood, it should come as no surprise to learn that the cast of Death Note has been white-washed. For example, the protagonist Yagami Light is now Light Turner, while his Gothic Lolita fan-girl Amane Misa, who harbors a one-sided crush on him because of his killing spree, has been turned into his classmate, Mia Sutton, who seems to have become a bored cheerleader for some unknown reason. On the plus side, while Nat Wolff doesn’t seem to have Light’s seductive charisma as in the source material, he does seem more than capable of managing his unbearable smugness, which is even more of a must.
There is some reason to have some measure of faith in the live-action movie, seeing as how it is directed by Adam Wingard of Blair Witch, You’re Next, and The Guest fame. Technically, Death Note isn’t as horror-based as its pilot chapter, but there can be no doubt about the fact that some of those elements remain in the series. As a result, Wingard’s expertise and experience with horror movies serve as some reassurance that the live-action movie might be worth seeing.
Sex and Gore
With that said, one of Wingard’s statements about his movie has been less than reassuring. In brief, he stated that it was important for him that Death Note be oriented towards adults, which makes sense considering the nature of its subject matter. However, his follow-up statement seemed to suggest that by oriented towards adults, he meant more nudity, more bloodshed, and more violence. Certainly, such things existed in the source material but such a fixation upon them seems detrimental from a storytelling perspective, though this could be nothing but worrying without cause.
Regardless, people who are interested in the idea of a supernatural thriller about the corruption of a high school student when he is handed supernatural power should not hesitate to check out Death Note when it releases within a short time, though they might want to avoid watching it with someone who remembers either the manga or the anime or one of the other entries in the overall franchise. After all, something about such situations seem to encourage fans to make comparison after comparison with the source material, which can be interesting but not on the first watch for a lot of people out there. Something to keep in mind when the movie releases.
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