Everyone’s favorite nostalgic anime is getting the Hollywood treatment. On August 25th, Death Note is coming to Netflix and people, me included, have some strong opinions about it. For the moment, we don’t know all that much about this film adaptation other than the cast and what the trailer shows us but it seems to be enough for some to be very vocal about their disappointment and low expectations.
So let’s have a look at the trailer, shall we:
This introduction to the Netflix original film is only a little over a minute long and it has been out for quite some time but I’d still like to talk about it (don’t judge me for being so late, I’m a busy lady, okay 😉 ).
We start off not with a glimpse into the realm of the Shinigamis but rather see the Death Note already floating down to earth. Granted, this is just the trailer but I do have a sneaking suspicion, that the movie’s first moments will look exactly the same. Which would be a shame considering that the anime’s initial establishing scene is one of the few in which Ryuk isn’t reduced to a sidekick/encyclopedia of death. Instead we see Light sitting by himself, presumably outside of his school, watching the black book drop down.
Seven seconds in and I’m already sceptical if the creators even paid attention to the details of the original. Netflix’s version of Light is nothing like the animated one – and I’m not talking about ethnicity. Whether you consider Nat Wolff attractive or not, he doesn’t reach Light’s almost transcendential level of beauty. Granted, beauty is subjective but Wolff, though certainly not ugly, simply seems unconvincing in such a role. Attractiveness is a key factor in Light’s life, one which he is able to expertly use to his advantage since it is less likely for people to consider a good-looking guy a criminal let alone murderer. With the hair, make-up and costume they put on Wolff, I just don’t see anyone being enchanted by his looks. This new Light couldn’t be more stereotypically Americanized. While Light in the anime is always put-together and well-groomed, the U.S. version seems like your typical outsider protagonist, horrible dye-job and thrift store clothing included. Light is hardly a character who tries to blend in but rather shine with academic excellence and exceptional manners. Plus his characteristic distant, calculating curiosity appears relatively non-existent in the washed-up, ‘I’m too average to function’ live action model. But then again, he’s shown running from the police and…falling off a Ferris wheel? Guess there’s not a whole lot of similarities to be discovered.
Moreover, I’m wondering what route they are taking with Light’s personality. Because the absolutely lifeless line delivery could potentially speak to his sociopathic character. Seeing him in the throws of passion at 0:36, however, might prove the opposite. That’s something I can’t really judge from a snapshot in a trailer, though.
We do know straight away that the story takes place in Seattle, the city where even in the dreariest and chilliest of weathers cheerleaders still practice in short-shorts outside, apparently. Oh, and I wonder what the main female character will be like. Will she be just as stereotypical? Smoking like a wannabe during school hours just so we all know SHE DON’T GIVE A FUCK? Probably an atrociously one-dimensional HBIC-type? Yeah. Sounds about right. A perfect Margaret Qualley typecast. Just has nothing at all in common with the O.G. Misa.
And boy, am I curious to see how they explain the nickname “Kira” in this version since it all takes place in the U.S. where the word ‘killer’ is perfectly pronouncable. Also, does 90% of this film happen in a sleazy, neon-lit 90s club that incidentally allows teens? The trailer sure makes it seem that way.
Unfortunately, we don’t get a good look at the main antagonist L. All we know from IMDb is that he’ll be played by Lakeith Stanfield – a curious choice, since the original L was supposed to be almost deathly pale due to his never leaving the house. But also malnourished with posture issues and a general aura of “I haven’t showered or changed my clothes in 3 years.” Stanfield isn’t nearly disgusting enough. Personally, I believe Wolff might actually be a better fit for L solely judging by appearance.
Gotta admit: visually, I have no complaints, though. I appreciate the varying color schemes they chose, it is shot well from what I can tell so far and Ryuk’s silhouette looks dope. Although his voice really reminds me of Spider-Man‘s Green Goblin…..oh, wait.
To be honest, all I can say is it irks me. This trailer irks me. To no end. Just. Ugh.
Will I be watching the film when it comes out? Definitely. But I don’t expect much beyond it making me want to watch the anime again.