Lucien’s Review: Death Note (2017)

Fuck this movie.  Fuck this fucking movie right up its ass.  This is the worst.  The absolute worst.  How terrible the live-action Japanese versions were should have been a big clue as to why this film wasn’t going to work.  The insanely over-the-top nature of the anime does NOT translate well into film.  So when you combine that with TERRIBLE American writers and a director who clearly has no talent for directing, then you end up with this pile of shit.  Yet-another anime adaptation to add to the pile.  Can whoever posed the idea of Akira being adapted into American take a fucking clue from this?!  They’re all bad!  Every last American adaptation has sucked, without a SINGLE exception.  Just like every video game adaptation has sucked.  When will Hollywood learn?  Wait, this wasn’t Hollywood’s fuck-up.  This was Netflix’s fuck-up.  I don’t have streaming here, but a friend invited me over to see it, and holy shit, it’s bad.  I hate when things I love get turned into shitty adaptations, and this was no exception.  There is so much to talk about, so let’s get to it.

The plot goes that Light…Turner (fuck that name) has the Death Note given to him by Ryuk.  That’s right, instead of Ryuk being bored one day in Shinigami Land and sending the book to Earth not caring who picked it up, in this version he gives it to Light and implies that he is the chosen one.  One of the many ways they fuck over EVERY SINGLE character in this film.  But instead of seeing this book as a way for him to create a world dedicated to his own personal sense of justice and becoming a genocidal monster in the process, Light decides that he’s going to impress a girl!  That’s right, instead of his character being a genius whose sense of morality becomes a twisted nightmare, he’s a pathetic high school loser who wants it is implied is just being used.  More on that later.  Then we get a dumbed-down version of L who is going to stop him.  Who wins?  Do you care?  If you do, you really haven’t been paying attention.

Nothing in this movie is good, aside from Willem Dafoe’s voicework as Ryuk.  Speaking of, let’s go into how every single character is fucked over.  So many people are going to say “it’s an adaptation!  You shouldn’t compare it to the original!”  Yeah?  Well then change the fucking name!  Light is turned from a genius who decides he is going to become a God under the assumed name of Kira into a pathetic angst-y teenager who is almost-certainly being led around with no agency of his own.  Whether it be Mia (their terrible version of Misa), or Ryuk, he always seems to be on someone else’s leash.  Did the idiot who directed this even see the anime?  Fuck this movie.  Light is not some brilliant mastermind.  In the anime, he is a calculating genius, who makes every move according to a plot to best the greatest detective of all time.  Every relationship in his life is part of a calculation, along with everything he ever does.  Part of what makes him so compelling as a character is how his urge to become a god ends up destroying the lives of every single person he touches, and he by the end he laughs his ass off about it.  In the film, he’s a pathetic pawn being used by pretty much everyone around him.  All of the brilliance of the cat-and-mouse game between him and L is gone.

Oh, let’s talk about L.  Do I care that they made him black?  Not even a little.  What I care about is the fact that they made him so pathetic.  I guess the director saw how he is in the anime and took that to mean that he isn’t socially awkward in the extreme and on the autism spectrum.  In this film, they decide to him him so pathetic that he has to have a song played to him to fall asleep.  This version of the character is pathetic.  That’s the only word for it.  You never sense this genius mind clouding a sense of detachment, which makes him believing that he is making a connection with Light so tragic.  He believed he had found a friend, and at the very end he realizes that he was just being used by Light.  In his last moment, he looks into Light’s eyes and sees that it was all a lie, and him and his companion died for it.  There are plenty of ways this character could have been 1000X better and been black.  The color of his skin had NOTHING to do with how pathetic and stupid this character was.  If anything, this actor is very competent.  I bet with better writing, he could have sold this a lot better.

Then there’s Mia.  A spin on the Misa character from the anime, here they make her out to be something of a force acting on Light, compelling him to do bad things with the Death Note.  Because we can’t have any of the morally gray stuff from the anime.  Everything has to be clearly black and white.  Fuck this movie.  The fact that so much of what initially makes Light use the Death Note is to please her just irks me.  In the anime, she was an insane groupie of Kira.  She was in love with him and would do anything, absolutely anything to please him.  To the point that she cut her own lifespan in half to get the Shinigami eyes.  But in the end, she realizes that she was used, just like everyone else, and it’s implied that she kills herself.  Another of those relationships that were nothing but a tool to Light and nothing more.  Can’t have that morally gray stuff in the film.  Doesn’t help that this chick acted like she should be in a sitcom.  Ugh.

Let’s talk about Ryuk.  Do you like Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin voice?  Well, he does okay with it here, so you can enjoy his vocal performance.  But here’s what pisses me off – in the anime, Ryuk isn’t on Light’s side.  He isn’t on anyone’s side.  When Light’s gambit is up, and he reaches out to Ryuk to help him, he outright says that he won’t.  Early on in the series, he helps Light out, not out of a sense of loyalty, but because he finds the game that’s going on interesting and realizes that if he doesn’t tell Light about the security cameras in his room, the game will end abruptly.  In the film, he’s painted as seeing Light as the chosen killer, and even compels him to do things.  Once-again, you can’t have all that morally gray stuff about Light seeing himself as a god and believing his genocidal rampage as a way to express that.  That might make audiences question who is the good guy.  We gotta see our protagonist as virtuous at all times.

Oh, and then there’s the book itself.  In the anime, Kira’s chosen method of killing is heart attacks.  There’s a reason – to show that these people are being killed and it’s him doing the killing.  It’s a way to spread the fear all over the world because no one knows who would be killed next.  In the movie, the vast majority of deaths are done through these Rube Goldberg machine ways of dying that REALLY make me think back to the Final Destination ways of dying.  It’s like the film wanted to show off the gore.  Funny, they want to have violent deaths, but no moral ambiguity.  The exact opposite of the show, which had very contained deaths, but a TON of moral ambiguity.  I guess someone assumed American audiences can’t handle that.  Fuck this movie.

As a fan of the anime, this film spits in the face of everything that made it great.  But let’s take that away.  Let’s pretend that the anime that this director halfheartedly riffed on never existed.  This film still sucks.  The performances are boring.  The motivations make no sense.  I’ll give that Light in the anime went from zero to Little Hitler in the span of a few moments.  But the series took the time to explain why he had this viewpoint.  Plus, there was the moral ambiguity of the battle between Light and L, where the body count gets higher and higher, and the audience is left wondering if either one is a truly good person.  In this film, the motivation is that Light is being manipulated by the people around him, with little agency of his own.  That’s boring!  Give me a reason to care why he’s so evil.  L is also a bad character, written to be so incapable of surviving on his own that he has to be taken care of.

I hate this movie, and can someone please make a note somewhere that American adaptation of anime don’t work so we can stop it, already?!

Final Verdict
2 out 10

Peace out,

Maverick

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Lucien’s First Take: Dear White People (Netflix Trailer)

You know, I’m starting to think that anti-SJWs are becoming just as bad as the SJWs they mock.  Why?  Because it seems like every little thing now leads them to some stupid boycott that won’t work and doesn’t really matter, yet gets trending on Twitter to make them feel like they are doing something important.  Recently, the trailer that we are going to watch got them all to have their panties in a bunch and start a boycott of Netflix.  Really?  Over this?  I’m a fucking hipster douche canoe who doesn’t even have streaming on Netflix and still does DVDs and even I see this as stupid.  Yeah, you just learned something about me that really makes me look pathetic.  I understand if you look down upon me.  It’s the same reason that I will have such a hard time getting into downloading games instead of having a disc copy.

This stupid boycott was started over a trailer that has a like/dislike ration that eerily mimics another big SJW-approved piece of work.  I wonder what that could be…?  And just like that one, battle lines have been drawn.  The title of this work is “Dear White People,” and I thought that we would look at this trailer and break down our impressions.  Weigh in with a more sensible voice about the nature of how good or bad it is.

So, we first get to see an image of stereotypical white people.  We have Douchebag Von Asshole V, and Betty Steenvirgin waving, as a black woman is about to tell me what kinds of Halloween costumes are acceptable.  Here’s the answer – any fucking kind I want.  I have the right to dress whatever way I want for Halloween.  As do you.  As does anyone who is watching this bullshit.  If you don’t like it, you are free not to associate with me.  As you are clearly a person with far-left, SJW political opinions, I doubt we would get along anyway.

Then it has a headline – America Needs.  Boy, I can think of a thousand things that I could fill in that end space with.  How about – to get away from dogmatic thinking?  Or maybe – to kick these SJWs to the curb?  Or, perhaps – to stop being so fucking pussy that we can’t deal with opposing points of view?  Yeah, those are all great things to fill in there.

We then get her deciding to go into a tirade about blackface.  Here’s where I am going to say something unpopular – I don’t give a fuck about blackface.  Really, I don’t.  Is it stupid?  Yeah.  Does it portray an ethnic group in a way that may be unflattering?  Probably.  But here’s the thing – that kind of shit only offends you if you have some kind of allegiance to your race.  This is something that I do not have. For example, we see our white people stereotypes.  Are they unflattering?  Sure.  Do I care?  Not at all.  Hell, I think they are kind of funny.  Like the cliche of what liberal elitist snobs are supposed to be.  These are the same kinds of people who are listening to what this bitch has to say and taking it seriously.  It isn’t the frat boys who actually want to live their lives as they see fit without breaking the law.  It isn’t the middle class people who are just going through their day-to-day and don’t give a flying fuck about all this identity politics stuff.  It’s yuppie snobs who are in Ivy League universities who are the biggest proponents of this kind of rhetoric.  The very people this woman is using to deride white people are the exact ones who are the first to come to her defense.

I have no allegiance to white people.  Hell, I don’t have an allegiance to the human race.  I’m a misanthrope.  I hate my species off-hand.  So I take people as they come.  If someone wants to mock white people, I say go for it!  Hell, I’ll join you.  I have made fun of hipsters with such gusto that my disdain for them has reached epic proportions.  I’ve made fun of rednecks.  I’ve made fun of yuppie Ivy League college students.  You want to make fun of white people?  Go right the fuck ahead.  I don’t get offended because it doesn’t mean a thing to me.  My race matters just as little to me as your race does.  I don’t give a fuck about your race either.  Fuck ethnic groups and their pet issues.  It’s beneath my attention to talk about.

So when this woman gets all butthurt about blackface, my thought is – why do you care?  I’m sure I’ll get someone who will come on here about how black people have been marginalized and shit.  Well, that was then.  Back then, blackface was an insulting thing to black people.  Nowadays, people don’t do it because it isn’t funny.  It’s not culturally acceptable.  The people in her video as example of blackface all seem to have something in common – they are young adults.  They are people in their early to mid 20’s.  The years when they are rebelling against societal norms and living on the edge.  It’s frat people and college punks looking to be offensive on purpose.  Gee, when you look at it like that, it’s almost like she is giving these people attention that they were already looking for.  Much like how Bill Maher wore a costume of Steve Irwin with a stingray barb in his chest shortly after he died.  Yeah, that was offensive, but it was done intentionally.  Getting mad about him about it just feeds into what he was looking for in the first place.

These people aren’t dressing up as you for Halloween, sweetie.  They are dressing provocatively, with the intent of getting reactions.  The fact that you let it affect you so strongly says more about you than it does about them.

And that’s it.  So, is the entire premise just some radio chick who uses the latest SJW talking points with black comedy interspersed among it?  Huh, maybe Madea will make a cameo.  Is this some big statement against white people?  No.  That’s stupid.  Would I ever watch it?  Nope.  I don’t go to Everyday Feminism because there’s only so much stupid I can handle.  Why would I watch a series personifying that kind of thinking?  And here’s the thing – this series will likely go the exact same route as that other SJW hill they had to die on.  It will be forgotten not long after it debuts.  So, with that in mind, let me give my Final Verdict.  For those who know how I rate things, it will make sense.

Final Verdict
5 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick