06 March 2012

Movie Review - Death Note (Live Action)

Image Source: About.com
Movie Title: Death Note
Actors: Tatsuya Fujiwara (Light), Kenichi Matsuyama (L)
Director: Shusuke Kaneko

        I just finished watching Death Note and Oh My Shinigami(aka god of death)!  Now, before I elaborate more, I should add a little disclaimer: I haven’t read the manga or watched the anime. >_< (Please, Death Note fans, I beg you not to write my name in any suspicious notebooks you may find!)  Initially, I wasn’t interested in anything Death Note at all, but my students said, “Teacher, you will like it.  And do you know Kenichi Matsuyama is in it?”  Well, once his name was uttered, how could I not watch the movie?  (He is just sooo cute @_@ . . .ahem ::wiping drool:: . . .back on track now)  So without further ado, here’s the review!

Story:  The story centers around Light Yagami, a law student who is disappointed in the lack of effectiveness the law has in administering justice.  One day he finds a mysterious notebook and is now able to see a Shinigami (god of death).  The Shinigami, Ryuk, explains that if a name is written on the pages of the notebook that person will die.  And so starts a killing spree of all the criminals who have escaped justice throughout the world.  The police begin a hunt for the vigilante known as ‘Kira’ lead by a brilliant, but odd detective, L.  The death toll begins to rise as Light tries to create a crime-free world.  L proves to be quite the opponent, however, as the chase intensifies.


Characters – I actually started the movie sort of liking Light and being creeped out by L and was surprised when those feelings did a 180 in the middle of the movie.  (That’s what I get for buying the Chinese edition of the movie and not reading the synopsis on back)  I ended up loving L’s quirky character and I’m not just saying that because Matsuyama is hot, I swear! ^_^  Both main characters, Light and L, and the police chief were well-done, although I did feel that Shiori (Light’s girlfriend) and Naomi Misora (fiancée of one of the FBI agents) characters often felt more 2-dimensional than they should have been. 

Storyline – I was constantly surprised throughout the movie!  The action was well-paced, intense and at many places had me on the edge of my seat.  The story was easy to understand without having to read the manga or watch the anime.  The movie also made a disturbing sort of sense and at the end left you thinking what a dangerous and corrupting power it is to decide who lives and dies.

Possible Pitfalls:

Which one looks like a serial killer to you?
Details – In manga and anime you have lots of chapters and episodes in which to establish characters and plots, but in movies you only get two hours at most.  Because of that I felt Light’s fall into insanity was quite abrupt.  He went from a law student craving justice to a cold-hearted serial killer in a very short span of time.  And this somewhat strained my suspension of belief.

Spoilers Ahead!!!  Please skip this section if you don’t want to know a pivotal plot point!!         

The kidnapping at the museum – I found this scene really flat.  For what should have been an intensely emotional scene, I admit, I hardly felt the emotional punch at all.  Misora’s character felt wooden and Shiori seemed way too relaxed with a gun to her head considering she’d been so upset by the bus-hijacker.  Their attitudes might make sense if when Light writes a death scene the characters turn into puppets, but still I wanted a powerful scene at the end of the movie and felt somewhat cheated!

Matsuyama-san!! ::faint::
All in all, this is the perfect movie to watch on a free Saturday afternoon!  The storyline was unique, most of the acting was well done, the suspense was great, and the message of the story was a good one: it is dangerous to have the power to decide who lives and dies.  (And the best part of the movie - it has Kenichi Matsuyama!!  Anymore need be said??)

Final score is 4 out of 5 firecrackers: 

Has anyone else seen Death Note?  Did you like Matsuyama the story?  Do you prefer the anime and/or manga?  I’d love to hear your thoughts about the movie! 

The next post will either be on the Maid Cafés in Taipei or PS3 games~  Still deciding~~  Until next time!  Ja ne!

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