Fans disappointed by ‘Death Note’ remake

September 12, 2017 — by Selena Liu

Anime watchers around the world highly praised the Japanese hit series “Death Note” when it was released in 2007, so when Netflix announced it would be releasing a new Hollywood adaptation of the anime, fans were thrilled.

Unfortunately, that excitement didn’t last very long.

As soon as the first trailer for the movie released in March 2017, film critics took to Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes to complain about the whitewashed interpretation of the anime classic.

The film centers around Light Turner (Nat Wolff), a high school student who discovers the Death Note, a black notebook that kills anyone whose name is written into it. However, when Light, under the alias “Kira,” starts to kill off every criminal in the world using the Death Note, the police and Light’s father (Shea Whigham), an investigator, begin searching for him,.

With a cast of nearly all white actors, a rushed plot and a clichéd love interest, Netflix’s “Death Note” adaptation has received the butt end of complaints from many entertainment critics.

“There’s very little that’s original in this Netflix original,” Chris Nashawaty wrote in his review of the film for Entertainment Weekly. “The whole thing feels like the pilot episode of a third-rate comic-book vigilante TV show.”

On the YouTube trailer alone, over 53,000 viewers disliked the video, compared to 46,000 likes, and the film received a 4.6/10 rating on IMDb.

Despite countless 1-star ratings from these fans, some critics acknowledged that although the film’s status as an adaptation is questionable, its ability to stand on its own might still be decent.

“Netflix’s film adaption of popular anime series ‘Death Note’ is very, very far removed from the source material, but manages to rework the story into something reasonably entertaining,” Dani Di Placido from Forbes Magazine wrote. “Many people will watch this without any prior conceptions of how ‘Death Note’ is ‘supposed’ to be, and on that level, the film succeeds.”

The original creators of “Death Note,” Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, also enjoyed the movie. Producer Masi Oka even recalled, “[Ohba and Obata] came out and said, ‘Thank you,’ and ‘We love the film,’ it really just brought a tear to my eye.”

It’s quite common that Hollywood adaptations of foreign entertainment lose some of their cultural brilliance. Therefore, it’s no surprise that fans of “Death Note” were disappointed in the new movie, mainly because of the heavy liberties taken in adapting the source material and an indifference toward whitewashing the cast.