Anyone who has seen the acclaimed and popular anime Death Note knows what a thrill ride it is. Cut to 2017, and we got the exciting news that a live-action adaptation, as a movie, is being backed by Netflix, the same streaming platform that has brought to us masterpieces like the House of Cards and Stranger Things. About three months ago, the first teaser dropped and let’s just say that we weren’t too excited. And now, the trailer is out.
Starting off, let us address the elephant in the room – the casting. This adaptation of the anime is based in America and understandably, America is a diverse place and so is the cast. We aren’t exactly sure of how well they’ll do in their respective roles (except Willem Defoe as Ryuk – he’s going to slay it), so we’ll reserve our final judgements on that till the actual movie lands.
The trailer starts off in a pretty ordinary way – in fact, you don’t get any hints towards it being a Death Note adaptation until this shot:
Light Turner, the American version of Light Yagami, looks to be the expected morally troubled kid who gets his hands on the Death Note fallen from the sky (which, by the way, is another thing accurate to the original, except this one’s in English)
The trailer moves on to our first proper glimpse of Willem Defoe’s Ryuk, and did this shot get us excited? You bet!
Light Turner seems to come to grasp with his power and begin using it to kill criminals.
Eventually specifying the type of death – just like in the anime – to throw off suspicion.
The cult of Kira is very real. Although, in the anime, Kira is the Japanese way of saying the anglicised ‘Killer’, where they replace the ‘L’ sound with ‘R’. How does the same name carry over to an American setting? We have to wait and find out.
We also see Mia, the adapted version of Misa Amane, alongside Light. In the anime, Misa is another Death Note holder alongside Light who is obsessed with him. Throughout the trailer, it is unclear if Mia will also possess the same power.
Then we move on to the big (hidden) reveal, L. Also, if you had any doubt that the movie had an American setting after they literally showed you the Space Needle in the last shot, you’re welcome.
The next shot actually indicates the Kira cult having carried out a massacre (Tokyo Cartel massacre, as revealed in subsequent shots) in the name of Kira, landing him in a tough spot with the authorities – if he wasn’t in one already.
Over the next few scenes, we see a lot of fast paced action, planning between Light and Mia, and what looks like L chasing Light – before this shot.
At least L still sits the same way. Pretty soon, after a couple more shots, we get another proper look at Ryuk, at a place which looks like it’s going to be the setting of some big action shots. (It does, literally in the next scene)
The rest of the trailer pretty much follows an unidentifiable trail of action until another shot where L is wearing the familiar white full-sleeved tee, and understandably agitated over a call with Light.
Oh, and someone definitely dies at 1pm/7pm on some day in October.
Overall, we are not entirely sure about this one. While we are not saying that you have to stay absolutely true to the original for any and every adaptation, if you are using the name and are banking on its popularity to sell tickets, then you have a certain responsibility to maintain accuracy towards the original work. We’ll reserve any more judgement on this one until it’s out on August 25.