'Death Note' on Netflix

Review... So Spoilers!

The hubby and I finally sat down to watch the new Death Note movie on Netflix. We had our doubts, but had planned on watching it the moment we realized it was released. It seemed like it could be a good movie. It really did. After all, I had been eyeing the anime for months. So, a movie had potential.

About 'Death Note'

"A high school student discovers a supernatural notebook that has deadly powers. He can kill anyone he wishes simply by inscribing their name within its pages. Intoxicated with his new power, he begins to eliminate those he deems unworthy of life."

That's about it. The idea behind the manga, anime and movie are all the same. A high school boy finds a notebook that gives him the power to kill people and all he really has to do is write their name in the book. This leads the boy, Light, to develop a bit of a God Complex. Who wouldn't end up with one if they had that kind of power?

Before We Watched

First, we had to watch the anime. That's just how it goes for us. I would have normally read the manga, which is a comic book or graphic novel, before watching the anime. That seemed kind of mean to my hubby though. He shouldn't have to wait for me to finish the manga before we watch it. So, I settled for watching just the anime before the movie.

Here's my thoughts on the anime...

It was a pretty cool psychological thriller. I loved the play back and forth between Light and the lead detective, L. It was a big game of chess and neither would back down.


When L died, I cried. He was my favorite character and added the extra kick to give Light enough personality to be more than just the bad guy. Yes, the main character of the story is the bad guy. That's just how it is.

After L's death and the new detectives came in, I lost interest. The game just wasn't the same. We did finish the anime, but both of us agreed we would have been okay with L's death and Light's winning being a better ending than what really happen. 

The Movie

After watching the anime and having seen the previews for the movie, my doubts tripled. I had also seen complaints online about the movie having been "white washed." It was, but it was Americanized for an American public. So having a range of ethnic groups was expected. That's not what threw me off when we finally watched it.


Light was changed from a brilliant honor student with a loving family to a social outcast with behavior issues. The behavior issues come from the death of his mother, who's murder was never brought to a close. I could have let this go, but there's more...

Light is the bad guy. He just is, but in the movie it was Ryuk, the death god that owned the notebook, that pushed Light to kill people with the Death Note. Oh, and a girlfriend who happens to be a cheerleader. There were a few girlfriends in the anime, but Light manipulated them to get the outcome he wanted. Light would have never been played by a mean girl cheerleader. It wouldn't have happened.

I held out hope for L. I'd heard he had stayed in character for an interview and kind of freaked out the person asking questions. That held so much possibility. L was for the most part well done. His interactions with Light were rushed, which took out so much of the flavor, but it was a movie. It would have been hard to draw out the cat and mouse. (Maybe if they'd left the cheerleader out they could have.)

At one point L does seem to go out of character when his butler/caregiver/manservant is taken and killed. I can't see L losing it like that and going on a mad chase to hunt down Light, but then again it could be possible. L had relied on this man for his entire life and suddenly he's removed and killed. So, maybe L would crack.


I won't be watching the Death Note movie again. I won't recommend it to anyone who enjoys anime to movie films. For those people who don't enjoy anime or manga, it might be a great little thriller, but I doubt it.

What should have been a psychological thriller was turned into some kind of cross between a love story and a badly done action movie. 

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'Death Note' on Netflix
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