Death Note on Netflix – My Opinion, Avoid It


I love Death Note, the Anime and Manga I mean. Netflix, today, launched their version of Death Note and I had to watch it and I regret it. It was in movie form and I think that was their first mistake, they tried to cram all that information into a little under 2 hours.  I’ve watched the anime numerous times, in fact I’m watching it again right now to get the ‘bad taste’ out of my mouth from that atrocity that Netflix dares to call Death Note.

Netflix ripped the series apart and didn’t leave much of it left at all really, just the very basic Death Note where you write in it and people die, the rest is pretty much gone. Names are similar or the same with different last names. I think it might have been better had they did a series instead of trying to cram everything into such a short time frame, you just can’t cover all of the information well enough to do the series justice.

I know people complained about ‘whitewashing’ and I don’t care about that at all, it’s set in Seattle and not Japan so American actors are fine for the parts but the actors weren’t that great either. I understand why they used American actors as it’s set in America and it’s for an American audience.

For the actors I have to commend Netflix on picking William Dafoe for Ryuk, he’s perfect really, but the others are just really unknowns or at least I never heard of them and I watch of lot of TV and movies. The names are changed, Misa is now Mia, and Light is the same except for an American last name which is fine I guess. Misa or Mia is cute I guess, but Light is I don’t know, just not that good looking in my opinion. He doesn’t act like Light at all and his acting is just stiff and wooden and not believable at all. Light is smart, super smart actually, but in the movie he seems rather dumb really. In the series Light is popular and well known but the movie makes him some bullied little boy who wants revenge for the bullying and his mothers death.

Speaking of Misa or Mia, I don’t know where she came from, or what I mean is the movie is nothing like the story, she’s nothing like Misa at all, and as far as acting like her, nope, not a chance, not even close.

L is another story altogether, his acting is worse and I think picking an African American (maybe American, not sure) actor was a very bad choice, no offense of course there intended but it just doesn’t work at all. It’s clear that the actor watched Death Note as he tries and fails miserably to imitate L and how he acts and his mannerisms, but it’s just bad really. It’s comical, well almost comical, it’s more sad, he’s just so unbelievable really, he’s not L, not even close.

The story is messed up as well, all of it, Netflix killed off pretty much Light’s whole family. In the anime he has a father, mother and sister but the movie is just his father and his mother was killed by a mobster and no mention of a sister at all.

There’s no background or backstory at all about the Shinigami or Ryuk, he just appears and it’s totally different than the anime. He looks similar, they did a good job there though, but they don’t really tell you anything about them as the Anime and Manga do, people will be wondering more about them I’m sure. Ryuk, in the anime, is bored, he drops the notebook to see what happens but in the movie he’s up to something much more sinister it seems.

Netflix changed the Death Note slightly as well, if you touch the Death Note or even a piece of paper from it you can see Ryuk, but in Netflix’s version it doesn’t work that way at all. Also in the Anime I’m pretty sure the Death Note was blank and Light got it, no one else used it, but in the movie someone else had already written names in it and even wrote about not trusting Ryuk as well.

I don’t know what Netflix was thinking with this atrocity of a movie, it doesn’t respect the source material at all really, it just throws most all of it out the window and re-writes the story and characters. It’s a shadow of the real Death Note, not even close to the source material.

It’s just bad, avoid it. I had thought about saying it might be worth watching if you didn’t know what Death Note was but I don’t even think it’s worth that as people will be lost and confused really. This show was aimed at Death Note fans and Netflix did us a disservice with this piece of garbage.

There’s just a lot that Netflix changed, I’m sure I could pick it apart and write pages and pages, but you get the idea, Netflix ruined it, if you like Death Note then don’t bother watching the movie as you won’t be happy you did.

Death Note is just an amazing piece of art, at least in my opinion it is, and if you’re interested in it then watch the Anime, even the English dubbed version is excellent, or read the manga but most certainly DO NOT watch the movie on Netflix.