Sunday, 3 October 2010

Death Note: The Films

I have already written an entire blog on the series (missed it? Catch up HERE) but I finally got the time to watch the films and review them!

The DVD cover for Part 1
The beginning of the film is quite quick and rather different from the beginning of the series, so if you're going to watch the films first you're gonna have to concentrate and keep up with it. I have to say, I much preferred part 2 than part 1, but that's mainly because part 1 is more like the "warm up" as it ends when the storyline's just about to start cooking.

One thing that I realised - and was surprisingly pleased about - was that there was a lot in the series that needn't be there. The film makes you realise that you can take a whole chunk out and it can still make sense which is what I was worried about. The series is epic upon epic and was concerned that the films would kinda give Death Note a bad name. However, I shouldn't have worried.

The films and the series are rather different. Some characters remain alive, some characters and storylines aren't even mentioned. Some of the storylines in the series are very similar to the ones in the films but the films use different characters. It's actually very clever how the writers could work it all out and have it all make sense still, and work out the loopholes. For me, it was like watching the series all over again with a new set of eyes. As you watch the story unfold and realise that this could all turn out very differently, it gets really exciting! At least, I thought so.

I was actually really pleased with the films, particularly because it all felt "new" seeing as I've watched the entire series twice. I like that they're different, no-one wants to see the series just cut down into 2 films, I like the spin and turn of events.

Tatsuya Fujiwara
However, I found the acting quite odd. Not that the actors were terrible, but it was just very...animé like, right down to Misa Misa's cutesy personality and L's quirky body language. They didn't change the character's characteristics at all. Another factor may be the language - their way of speaking is very different to us English speakers and it became very apparent whilst reading the subtitles. I was reading them whilst listening to the actors and thought a numerous amount of times "I wouldn't have spoken that sentence like that", but that's the Japanese language for you, I guess.

L in the animated series

Kenichi Matsuyama as L

Kenichi Matsuyama portrayed L very well I thought, in terms of mannerisms. He had everything down to a T. He was hunched over, fiddled with his lips, sat in a funny way, always ate sweets...he had that awkwardness about him that was very much like the animé character. Which of course was very good, but also rather strange seeing it in a live action movie. But then again the film including a CGI shinigami (Death God) and a notebook that could kill people, so...

Tatsuya Fujiwara as Light Yagami and the Shinigami Ryuk

Light and L in action including a black haired Misa Misa

 Apparently the manga and the films are most alike, but I have yet to confirm that myself as I have not read the manga (well, I've read the first book and that was exactly like the series...?!) but if you're a fan of Death Note, watch it!

There's actually a third film, which concentrates on L solving another case after the Kira one in the Death Note films. Is it worth watching? Well, it kind of has nothing to do with Death Note at all. Some characters are mentioned but the connection is minute. Minute as in small, not minute as in time, in case anyone got confused (I had to google the spelling to make sure I wasn't going crazy).
I quite liked the film though it was a bit confusing at first and spent quite some time wondering how these 3 characters/storylines were going to mash up together. It's basically about this Eco-Group who want to kill mankind to save the planet by spreading a deadly virus and trying to receive an antidote to save themselves. Watch it if you want, but it really doesn't have much to do with Death Note.

All in all, I enjoyed watching the films and seeing the comparison between the films and the series. I highly recommend both!


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