Adapting something like Death Note into movie form already suggests a lot of issues. The show may not be the same sprawling epic as other anime series, but it’s still a great deal to condense into a movie’s run time. Fans could be forgiven for doubting Netflix’s venture.
Let’s just say this teaser didn’t do much to kill those doubts. Not for me, anyway.
I’m not the biggest Death Note fan in the world, but my brothers did sit me down to watch this eventually. This…this looks just like the Westernized, point-missing mess I worried it would be. At some point you would expect studios to learn this lesson. Maybe Death Note did and this trailer was tailored towards attracting an audience that wouldn’t give the show a chance. I hope that is the case here.
This does not look like Death Note to me. It has seemingly cliche action scenes. Light looks like an unpopular emo kid rather than the charismatic genius of the source material. He’s running from cops. Everything about this looks Americanized to a fault. Which might not be a problem if they took the concept of the story and changed everything else. Most fans would likely be okay with a Death Note story featuring new characters.
But nope, that’s Light Yagami, except now his name is Light Turner. Misa is Mia Sutton. So, whitewashing the cast on top of a trailer which doesn’t exactly look like Death Note? I find it hard to feel too confident in this movie at the moment.
And again, I hope I’m wrong. I hope the trailer picked some choice moments to attract a wider audience but maintained the proper feel and themes. Very little about this trailer gives me confidence that Death Note will prove the exception to the rule of bad Western adaptations of anime.
Death Note hits Netflix on August 25. The cast includes Nat Wolff, Margaret Qualley, Paul Nakauchi, and in two casting decisions I actually have hope for, Keith Stanfield as L and William Dafoe as the voice of Ryuk. Though perhaps having someone as cool and charismatic as Stanfield playing L proves further how this version of Death Note might miss the point.