Thursday, November 4, 2010


DVD Review

The great thing about taking part in the Netflix Potluck over at Anomalous Material is watching a lot of movies I never would have picked on my own. This week’s pick for me came from Manikandan. Her blog MoviesCrunch is a great site for checking out some cool foreign cinema.

When I looked this film up on Netflix, I found a lot of different options. There were Anime versions and live action. I watched the live action, Japanese 2008 version.

This was quite a different film for me, and I had mixed feelings about it. Story wise, it was excellcent. Light, a young criminology student, finds a notebook on the street. The cover of the book says Deathnote and inside is instructions for how to use it. If you want someone to simply have a heart attack and die, write their name in the book, and as long as you know what they look like, (to ensure someone with the same name doesn’t accidently bite the dust) they will drop dead in 40 seconds. Of course Light doesn’t believe this. He decides to try it out when his TV flashes the photo of a horrendous criminal currently in police custody. To his surprise, the guy is on the front page of the morning paper because he dropped dead. Suddenly, Light gets the bright idea that maybe he can use the Deathnote to change the world for the better.

As far as plot went, I thought this film was thought provoking. What would anyone do with that kind of power, and would it go to your head? Now, certain other elements of the film bugged me; specifically, the animated punk-rock looking character that followed Light around. This animated character, named Ryuk, looked very out of place in this live-action film. He was also supposed to be some type of comic relief/narrator and none of it worked. This animated “Death God” over-explained plot points and giggled and danced around eating apples. It annoyed me to no end.

Lastly, as I stated above, this film over explained itself, and I didn’t know if that was a type of style or just bad moviemaking. However, after having the whole film overly analyzed, it ended with a possible set-up for a part two and no real conclusion.

In the end, I was 50-50 with this one. Some things were great; other areas needed a lot more work. I did enjoy checking out a new genre and seeing the current Japanese youth culture. I just wish more of the good points prevailed.


Karen said...

Really intriguing concept. I might check it out despite the flaws that look like they will annoy me too...

Patti B. said...

I found you from the SITS forum on BlogFrog. That movie sounds fascinating! I watched Ghost in the Shell (anime) last week, and I ended up with mixed feelings about that one. I really like Oldboy though, which is a Korean revenge film. I haven't seen any Japanese live-action films that I can remember.