This was originally posted by me at http://blackanddarknight.wordpress.com (no longer available) on July 4, 2013.
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Genre & Length: Thriller, 120 minutes
Ace student Light Yagami finds the Death Note, a notebook intentionally dropped by a rogue “Shinigami” death god named Ryuk. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies. Upset with the current justice system, Light takes matters into his own hands and vows to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of all evil, and become “the God of the new world”.
A mysterious detective known only as “L” quickly learns that the serial killer, nicknamed “Kira” by the public, is located in Japan. Light realizes that L will be his greatest enemy, and a game of psychological cat and mouse between the two begins.
Plot & Pacing: I’ve watched the anime series of Death Note, and read probably half of the manga, and knew that if they were going to fit this into two movies, a LOT of action was going to be chopped.
That said, a lot of action WAS chopped. But it was chopped very well. In fact, to go along with my gardening phase, I’d use the word “pruned” rather than “chopped”.
A movie script is vastly different from a manga outline, and they adapted it well. Everything flowed so smoothly that at times I looked at it and went “why didn’t they tell it like this in the manga? It makes much more sense now!”
Casting: Well… it was Japanese acting with English voice dubbed over. Once you get past the fact that the lips don’t match the words, though, the acting of the main characters was excellent. Some of the extras were… well… lacking in talent.
Special Effects: It’s … a low-budget film. From 2006. That said, it’s definitely not the worst CGI I’ve seen (there’s no way they could have gotten live actors for the Shinigami :P). Not the best, but by far not the worst.
Would I watch it again: Yes!