HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH THAT LIGHT AHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA THAT RYUK AHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAAHAH AAHAHAHAHAHHAH THAT WESTERNIZATION AHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAH THAT ENDING

First of all, I want to apologise for making fun the usual “A NetFlix original” tagline NetfFlix usually uses in their original works promotion materials because this one is really original to the Death Note fanon. No, this is not a compliment.

Since this movie is adapted from a source material, I will just do this; I will compare the points from this westernization of the source material to the source material and says whether it's good or not.

Yagami Light

In the source material, Yagami Light—canonically it's Raito, but what do I know—was a asexual really smart high-schooler with a strong ideal from a usual family. This character of him is what fuelled the entire story. This factor is absent in the westernized version, Light background was turned—no pun intended—inside-out to a hormone induced usual high-schooler from a troubled family. In the source material, his strong ideals push him to the mental lengths of becoming a god—god of humans, of course—but he wanted people to give him this title. In the westernized version, Light was also want to be a god, but he's telling people to call him such. Hence, every bit of his being in the westernized version is far inferior to the source material.

Definitely bad. His substance is reduced so much that Light is basically a different character.

Amane Misa

The original Amane Misa was a teen driven to love Light by pure adoration who will do anything to support him. This westernized version of her is far off. She has her own ambitions. Nothing was put onto her. Heck, the audience didn't even know her backstory— justifying her nothing-to-lose attitude in a very bad way.

One dimensional AF. The whole story is too focused on Light and L's conflict, any other characters didn't get enough attention.

L

L's depiction in this version is the worst. He was reduced from a emotionless and respected investigator with a strong sense of justice into a quirky investigator with abandonment issues. Original L's backstory wasn't explored enough, but there's where the similarity ends. L was sentimental in this version, and that hinders his judgment when it counts. The original L would never do this, and this point is what makes him interesting.

No comment until after the comparations.

Ryuk

Ryuk's was more involved to this story than he originally did. He was increased from a passive observer into an active puppeteer with unknown motives. Again, this change makes him loses his substance.

Willem Dafoe's performance was great, but was wasted on such one-dimensional character.

The story

How do you adapt 6 volumes of social-philosophical drama into 90 minutes crime thriller? You don't. Which is why a lot of materials was cut, except for the main plot that leads L to Light. Ironically, there was also original points that they added, which begs the question; why?! Why bother tinkering a solid story at all?

And... this is the problem.

I preceded this review with an apology, therein lies the problem; they tried to came out with an original content; something fresh from the Death Note fanon, no matter how... bad it is. I believe they refused to rehash a well-known story and milk it. They tried, but it backfired badly.

From what I perceive, I believe they tried to tried to assert an ancient philosophical concept; the Yin and Yang. They tried to make the audience believe that Light isn't a villain, but instead of feeding them with his ideals, they tried to make the heroes looks bad. Thus, emphasising the maxim that “there is evil in good and there are some good in evil.”

To date, this is the weirdest allegory for Yin and Yang I have ever seen.

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