Why Death Note does Not Hit the Mark

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1. Light & Mia > Are they better in the Death Note anime? 

Light Turner is not a bad character, nor is the actor that plays him (Nat Wollf). The problem is that Light Turner makes a lot of dumb and perplexing decisions, especially when he gains ownership of the Death Note (i.e. immediately telling Mia about the Death Note).

Then suddenly, it turns out he’s the mastermind and he’s been manipulating everyone around him. This might have worked better if his actions reflected or hinted the final act of the film.

Secondly, Mia Sutton (Margaret Qualley) is not the most likable person. This is not a bad thing. But her turn to the dark side is as quick as Anakin’s turn in Revenge of the Sith. It would have been more interesting if she was always the bad guy (from the start), manipulating Light to gain access to the Death Note.

Instead, she’s a one dimensional character with one certain intent — to kill everyone that pisses her off. The problem is that it’s not grounded in the film especially when she nonchalantly tells Light that they should kill his father for his interference in the Kira case.

 

 

death note
L and Light have a jolly time at a coffee shop.

2. The Music Choices? 

I applauded Atomic Blonde because Tyler Bates and the director, David Leitch gave the film a sense of character and style with it’s punk and rock soundtrack. This wasn’t random, considering that the story is set several weeks prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall (in 1989).

Another film that does this well is Guardians of the Galaxy. Even though the movie is not set on earth during the 1970s – 1980s, Chris Pratt’s character Peter Quill retains a sentimental music tape with his mother’s favorite songs. Music from David Bowie and Norman Greenbaum works in a space setting because Peter Quill’s relationship with the music tape has already been established.

It is on this point that we turn to Death Note. Some of the music seem like an odd choice. I could have sworn that I’d heard “Take my Breath Away” ( from Top Gun) or “The power of Love” in a ton of teenage drama films.

My point is that I don’t think the choice of music really adds a lot of value. Pulling a chapter from Atomic Blonde and Guardians of the Galaxy, it would be interesting to see if the music could reflect the time period or add value to the character of Light or Mia.

 

3. What does this all add up too? 

This is not a bad movie. I’ve seen a lot of negative reviews — smoking this movie on a barbecue. Excuse the bad metaphor. I’ve never seen the anime and I can honestly say that the movie is just fine. It doesn’t add anything particularly unique, but it isn’t a mess either. My favorite character was undoubtedly Ryuk, played by Willem DaFoe.

 

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