Why Not To Watch The Netflix 2017 Film Adaptation of Death Note

Why Not to Watch the Netflix 2017 Film Adaptation of Death Note


The Death Note story is based on the manga written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Ohba. It is a widely popular series which went on to become an anime, a drama and also had several live action Japanese films. This 2017 Death Note film, a ‘Netflix Original Film’, has failed to capture the true likeness of the original story, from bad casting and badly adapted writing of the original outline and execution of storytelling. The internet is currently roasting this new film and I don’t blame them! (If you are not familiar with Death Note, there are some storyline spoilers ahead)


Light Yagami is a handsome and articulated genius who develops a literal god complex after he comes into possession of Ryuk’s (a Shinigami Death God) Death Note Book. He goes on to become the fearful Kira who punishes those stained and tainted by evil deeds by penning their names into the death note, which has a purposeful set of rules but also kills whoever's name is written in it.


While his purpose might have been well intended early on, Light soon becomes corrupted by his desire to be a God of the ‘New World’

From manga, to the anime adaptation and then the Japanese Live Action films, the Death Note story could be described as a fan favourite worldwide. So why mess with a good thing?

Well seeking to latch onto a fan base that has mass appeal, but perhaps not fully understanding those fans might have been a first mistake with this production with this adaptation. Secondly, the story diverts greatly from the original, leaving out many key characters who lived and died in the series that built the momentum of Kira and the psychological battle between Light vs L. This is not what you will find in this film.

It appears in this rendition that Ryuk encourages Light ‘Turner’ played by Nat Wolff to use the Death Note. Whereas in the original, Light Yagami examined it by his on curiosity before taking the official Death Note Plunge into becoming Kira! We lose Light to a dumbed down characterization, who is paid to do the homework of other students.


In this story Light has lost his mother (the original story, Light has a mom and sister) and tries to separate his work as Kira from his family. The back story in this film falls apart and thus bears nothing of the essence and presence of the original Light Yagami who was immaculate and meticulous; this Light Turner is disheveled, sloppy and is not the methodical, calculating skeptic who thinks 10 steps ahead.

L, while various ethnic portrayals are fine from cosplays to this film. Somehow this L played by Lakeith Stanfield failed to deliver the quirky, genius with that lovable and unorthodox personality.


Despite the brief sweet tooth cravings that were implied in this rendition, fans of the original really hold L dear and are not buying into this one! What do we miss about L, that unkempt hair, slouchy clothes and outside of the box cleverness. Fans are used to seeing an L who absorbs every little detail surrounding him and strategically puts everything together like a puzzle!

Ryuk, might have been the only one to remain unscathed by a poor portrayal, who better than William Dafoe (Spider-man’s Green Goblin) to voice Ryuk in this feature.


(Ryuk from Anime, to live action to the 2017 version)


Brian Drummond voiced Ryuk in the English Dub and brought Ryuk to life for North American Audiences in the anime series for those who did not watch the original Japanese with subs. While Nakamura Shido voiced Ryuk in the Japanese Anime and for many is the only Ryuk. Jun Fukushima provided the voice of Ryuk in a live action adaptation.  

Do you think this Death Note missed the mark? Fans are certainly speaking their mind on it, but for me it was a sad attempt at trying to do justice to something that is already great!

Review Rating: 0/10
Time to stick an apple in it, it's done!


What would the actual Light Yagami think of this mess? XD


Check out the trailer for it here:

What are your thoughts on the new Death Note film?

Did you like it? Or hate it?

Comments (62)

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  • Reply
    JustynaP 1 day ago

    Why, why, why??? I watched teasers and - I'm sorry - it's awful... Why did they destroyed intelligent, brave and psychopathic Light like this?!!! I assume that I always have to stick to anime

  • Reply
    peacewon 10 days ago - edited

    I was not able to get past a few minutes on the netflix (who, by the way generally do a MUCH better job, no clue what went wrong here) version because Kira was portrayed as less than egotistical, smart and meticulous, as well as his mom was not alive and then to top it off Ryuk was egging him on. All of those defeated the purpose of the struggle for good versus evil, (Kira was supposed to be attaining JUSTICE from a system he believed was now incapable of attaining justice in the current atmosphere), power corrupting, and various other important mechanics that I felt were momentous in the original version.

  • Reply
    BlackZen 10 days ago - edited

    I'm 50/50 in watching this because I already know what to expect (disappointed) and also I know that every scene I would just compare compare criticize critize haha its kind of harsh although I know that it caters more to the western audience still doesn't erase the fact that they made a lot of changes and I think I need to prepare myself first to watch this and get back on this comment if I manage to watch it to comment again

  • Reply
    Princess_Saber 10 days ago - edited

    Truly disappointing. Can't bring myself to finish. I don't know but it just doesn't feel right for me. What I did learn from it though was that it shows more the differences of culture. I have appreciated the movie for that but well, I did not have to finish it anyway to understand such differences. I thought "this is what an American teenager would do if faced with a situation like that and that its very different from how a Japanese teenager would probably handle such situation." I am not American and so I cannot relate to Light Turner at all.

    What I make of this is that they are just messing with the story. It should have been a spin-off or a rendition instead.

    Death Note (manga, anime, drama, movie) adaptations are really well received even in my country (that is not from the west). It did so because though there are differences in each adaptations being made, the main theme of Death Note is there, that one theme that many people really loved and regarded highly. Death Note for me was irreplaceable because of that moral. The sense of meaning in the story that made it unique and interesting. That made me fall in love with it. Its an adaptation, not a spin-off, yet the essence of beauty that is made solely for Death Note (whatever adaptations it may have) have been totally removed, and I think that's why I don't like it.
    Like its totally fine to bring in foreign artist to play, even change character's name, change Kira into an English title, change the rules of the death note and all, but not the meaning of the story. It's the story and the depth what makes it successful and well loved by the audience and even me personally. But, I cannot feel that at all in this version. I was dumbfounded the moment I saw the scene in which Ryuk influenced Kira to use the Death Note. By that scene alone, I knew that it will not be what I had expected it to be.

    Death Note always make me chilled me to the bone and fear for the note itself. However, It did not create such impact to me when I watched this film even when it is supposed to be.

  • Reply
    Drama4lover 11 days ago - edited

    Lol you guys are so freaking weird! Ofcourse it is going to be American people when it's an American production. White, black or red doesn't matter. The majority of Americans are WHITE and Black so it makes sense they are the leads. That's what I would expect. I would think it's going to be extremely weird seeing a bunch of Japanese people talking english. WTH is the point in that? We already have many Japanese adaptions WITH Japanese people ONLY.

    • Reply
      Pripri99 9 days ago

      Maybe the article didn't outline this well but the problem is not about ethnicity. Of, course there is gonna be americans in an american adaptation. But, what was really disappointing is that they didn't manage to keep the essence of the story or the characters. I was really disappointed because I am a huge fan of american thrillers and I was anticipating how they would bring the american feel into this memorable work. I din't get it this time.

  • Reply
    firepig71 11 days ago

    Managed the first half hour while thinking why am I even watching this and turned off. They should just leave it to the Japanese, there are some movies/dramas that just don't work. This is one of them and the ring.

  • Reply
    jaded14yaoi 11 days ago
    Reveal Spoiler »
  • Reply
    LadyNoir 12 days ago

    Exactly! Terrible adaptation and a complete disappointment. Why was this made in the first place omgg so many anime fans' hearts are getting stabbed

  • Reply
    Dodofugl 12 days ago - edited
    Reveal Spoiler »
    • Reply

      This was an adaptation, not a remake therefore your constant need to compare this to the japanese version is incredibly silly, they tried something new, something that hadn't been done with the Light character instead of being so generic is just copying every detail of the anime and manga. Personally it's not been done the best, but it's nowhere near as bad as people are trying to make it out to be. Especially those of us who watch asian dramas, movies, anime and so on on a regular basis, we try too hard to compare it to other countries ways of doing things and to be fair that's incredibly wrong.

    • Reply
      HappySqueak 12 days ago

      If it had been a stand alone film, with all new characters stumbling across the Death Note in North America I think people might have received it better because then it would be a fresh platform to discover how the story for your average North American youth finding a Death Note would go, but this was clearly not that. A lot of people are unhappy with the character adaptations since they kept the original names but lost the strong intelligent personalities.

      @Adam _from_England. You are welcome to like and enjoy the film all you want, but others can choose to dislike it as much as they want too :)
      Thank-you for your thoughts on it.

  • Reply
    sensitiviity 12 days ago - edited

    the whitewashing itself is enough for me not to watch it but lmao i'm not surprised it's bad at all.

    • Reply
      Adam_from_England 12 days ago

      The manner in which you've written your comment seems to lead me onto the conclusion you've gone "Wow these people were right and I'm silly for saying what I did, Lol joke, It's racist coz white people are in it"

    • Reply
      jaded14yaoi 11 days ago

      People always say it's not whitewashing because it's set in America. That's not an excuse. There are various races in America, so why is the default always white? Every time they make a remake of a japanese show, the lead is white. The whole shinigami/kira thing is japanese culture, so why not cast a Japanese American as Light where it would have made more sense? To me Light should have been Japanese, everyone else was free game.

    • Reply
      CherryBunny 11 days ago - edited

      I think it could have worked with a white Light. Or with a Black Light. A Japanese American Light. Any race of Light. I still think the story is able to be adapted to any culture, actually. There are two problems, though. 1. Changing the personalties of the characters with the lame excuse that it was to better portray, culturally, an American teen. That was bullshit. There is no such thing. We do have stererotypes here in the US, though, and unfortunately, the stereotype of an American high school student is really pathetic and sad. It is a shame the writer decided to opt for changing the source material to that. >_<

      Second, and this is the problem with every single adaption that has been recent. The ones writing the script are not anywhere near the same level of intelligence as the characters they are supposed to be writing about. The two main characters are geniuses of the top level and the whole story is about that. In the recent Japanese versions, they tried, but they simply could not understand and portray that level of intelligence. In this version, though, the writer did not even care enough to try and decided instead to just make it easy. Probably befause it was too much of an effort or too hard to do. Thus, failure.

      Also, one thing to add that no one seemed to notice. The writer here tried to add a nod to Mello in in the second part of the movie. L's sudden meltdown into wtf was all Mello, down to the high speed police chase. However....why he thought it would even make sense to do that is beyond me. It is like, he was determined to get Mello in there and just did not care. Lol

    • Reply
      minhsuga 11 days ago

      @jaded14yaoi, I totally agree. As an Asian American, it's so disappointing to see people excuse whitewashing because they default Americans as white. What am I then? An anomaly? Sure Asian Americans are a minority, but we DO exist, and it would have been so gratifying to see them cast an Asian American for the roles of at least either Light or Misa (Mia in this verison), especially considering the story they're adapting is so rich in Japanese folklore and culture. The story also took place in Seattle, where Asians are the second biggest percentage of the city's racial makeup after whites. And I'm personally from a part in California where Asians are everywhereee. Although I will say, if they had just completely remade Death Note into an American version with brand new characters and a brand new plot, I would have been much more forgiving. You can't just take the original idea, keep many of the original, notable (Asian) characters (minus L), and expect people not to compare it to the source material.

  • Reply
    HappySqueak 13 days ago

    lol my friends who only watched some of it and not all, kind of laughed at me for being able to finish the whole film. But in fairness I needed to watch it from beginning to end before writing this piece to give it my honest thoughts. Thank-you to everyone who took time to share their opinions about this film. I can see that some people did like the film for what it was, and to those original Death Note fans who clearly did not like the destruction of the original thanks for leaving your thoughtful comments and caring for the original so much.
    For me one of the frustrating points was the fact that Ryuk in this adaptation told Light Turner to leave the death note for someone else to find and use on more than one occasion. To me it indicated that Ryuk knew this Light could not handle the Death Note as exceptionally as Light Yagami could.

  • Reply

    So in other words you cannot actually give a real valid reason as to why this is bad. It's an ADAPTATION, meaning it's been adapted from the anime/manga. I really wish people would learn to understand the meaning of the word, trying to do a like for like comparison to the anime/manga is stupidity. I understand people will compare it but you really really need to understand that an ADAPTATION doesn't mean it will be like for like, it means the film will be changed and molded into something more fitting with where it's being produced, in this case America. The movie is actually really good, if you had no prior knowledge of the anime it's based on, you'd not be so biased.

    • Reply
      Maham Tanveer 12 days ago

      this movie has a meager 4.6/10 critic rating on rotten tomatoes, and same at imdb. It was not a good movie by any standard.

    • Reply
      Adam_from_England 12 days ago

      I didn't know that the average person doesn't have a brain and instead they decide how much they like something based on other peoples opinions
      The movie is obviously going to get a lot of stick because we live in a time were being offended by anything and everything is a thing, people will cry and complain about whitewashing, about the fact despite it being an ADAPTATION that it's not true to the anime or manga.

      If any single person decides a movie or TV show is bad because "it got a 4.6/10 on rotten tomatoes" and not based on their own unbiased opinion is in fact a moron.

    • Reply
      LadyNoir 12 days ago

      I agree @Maham Tanveer. It was a terrible adaption especially for the anime fans of Death Note out there. If they have money to create this movie, they should have put it into better use like movies such as "Silenced" (also based off book)

  • Reply
    FoodliftingFairy 13 days ago - edited

    I watched it today. It was so dumb. The excuse that I've seen on the internet is that this is only "based on" death note, but if it's called death note and has the same characters, i pretend a decent rendition of death note.
    I'm ok with changing the plot, being this just a movie, but at least they could have made it smart, instead it seems just thrown together in 5 minutes.

    • Reply
      Eunha 12 days ago

      Agreed, all they did here was just dumb it down to nothing. Sure the Japanese movies weren't perfect, but from what I remember they at-least stayed true to the characters. Plus in the last movie L saves the world (or whatever it was called) they took creative license ....and I loved it. Basically they don' have to copy everything, but just stay true to the characters and the main plot.
      Plus there is a difference b/w Americanizing it and copying common ideas from American movies/shows. Like in criminal minds there was no way to have it just like the American version, but I think they got enough to remain true to original.

  • Reply
    CherryBunny 13 days ago

    This movie sucked so much. I rate it a 2 because at least it made me lol.

  • Reply
    John 13 days ago

    I was watching this movie with friends who have seen the anime and we all enjoy it.

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