After a long and troubled development, the American Death Note movie finally has a trailer… But not everyone’s happy with this first look.
Despite being only a minute long, the Netflix-exclusive film is already generating controversy among the original anime and manga’s fans. So far, it’s clear this isn’t an exact adaptation. Light is now seemingly a reclusive angsty teen. L is black. And Ferris wheels are toppling over like a Final Destination movie. This isn’t Death Note I know and love! And that’s… okay.
Adaptations are an intrinsic part of movie history, with some of Hollywood’s most classic and beloved movies are adapted from novels. The Godfather, Jurassic Park, The Wizard of Oz, none of them are original ideas, but nonetheless they’re all still celebrated in their own right.
And of course, not all of these movies are exact replicas of their originals. Events get cut out, characters are changed, even whole themes are shifted in the transition from book to screen. Novels and films (and anime for that matter) are entirely different mediums that rely on different methods of storytelling. Not everything that works in one will work in another, especially when attempting to condense the narrative into just two hours. And that process is even more difficult when making the change from Japanese audiences to American.
But does that mean all changes are always good? Well no. But we should be a little more forgiving in letting other creators explore the boundaries of the original work. We already have the well loved and respected Death Note manga and anime, nothing takes those away. But why not see what tweaking the original story and characters will produce? What other aspects can be delved into Death Note’s original premise? What can an American-ized perspective reveal that the original didn’t? What if Light wrote “Death by Ferris wheel” into his little creepy book?
We’ll have to wait until its debut on Netflix on August 25 to find this out, but I for one am still intrigued by what this adaptation can bring. Despite the differences, it looks like the movie is nicely shot and stylized, it’s in the hands of a competent production team, and the director has experience with some great horror and thriller movies. So maybe, just maybe, Death Note will turn out alright anyway.
AND ALSO WILLEM DAFOE AS RYUK IS THE GREATEST CASTING EVER SO CAN THE INTERNET JUST CHILL FOR A SECOND AND BE COOL ABOUT THIS PLEASE.