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 (61)

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  • Reply
    Kasjady 11 days ago

    I thought the film was bearable only because of the last 30 minutes. The one thing they changed that was integral to the Death Note franchise - was that they made both L and Light emotional idiots. Rather than a fight between two intellects. Watching this film makes me want to go back to school, and become a screen writer purely to remake Death Note again LOL. There's rumours that there's a possible chance of Season 2.... .........Change the producer and writer, pronto.

  • Reply
    Trouble-chan 11 days ago

    It not only 'missed the mark', it's not even in the same universe as the mark.......

  • Reply
    JAY 11 days ago

    The only good thing about this movie is Ryuk's voice.

  • Reply
    twinklelie 11 days ago - edited

    As if the Japanese adaptations were better... I liked it. Yes, some scenes were very american-like, but wasn't it the point? It's inspired from the manga, not a copy. It didn't capture the manga/anime, so what? if you look at it as a movie without thinking it's inspired from something, it has good stuff going on. I liked the fact that Ryuk was always in the shadows. It added some mystery to the character and made him more like a bad conscience for Light. And I don't say that the acting was good, it was alright... I've seen worse, but I've seen better. So yeah, not the best movie ever, but not bad. And really, you can't go wrong with Willem Dafoe...

    • Reply
      newNY 11 days ago

      Are you serious? The Japanese adaptations are way better than this version.

    • Reply
      twinklelie 10 days ago - edited
      Reveal Spoiler »
    • Reply
      twinklelie 10 days ago

      And I'm talking about the movies, not the drama, which was a true masterpiece indeed

    • Reply
      tvxqjung 9 days ago

      Same thoughts here. The recent Death Note JP movies were... ugh. Netflix version is better but not the best.

      As always when I watch adaptations/remakes, I don't compare it from scene to scene of the original version(sometimes I don't even compare them), because I know there will be lots of changes. If I wanted to watch an adaptation with no changes whatsoever from the original version, I think its better to just re-watch the original lol. I really don't understand why some people watch an adaptation but expect it to be true to the original...

  • Reply
    KarenScott 11 days ago

    well yeah, looks like cheap comedy

  • Reply
    WowCreations 11 days ago

    i watched it and yes ...don't if you watched the anime.

  • Reply
    Patry-chan 11 days ago

    I always think (while watching the Netflix's trailer) that producers never watch Death Note, from first to last episode. They just knew "Ok, there is a guy with a notebook, creepy creature which like to eat apples, b!tchy look like girl and weirdo with diabetic future". I'm sure they never feel the plot of this anime. Like @pookiebear said below they don't get it that Yagami is a genius kid with ambitions to rule the world and make it better; they don't get it that L is another genious kid who is after the Kira and is chasing him with class and style while eating sweets. Oh! There is so much thing they didn't consider in this movie - and those things are what creates anime.

    (Sorry for bad English. Sending besties to you all.)

  • Reply
    MrBanana 12 days ago - edited

    I could stand 30 minutes then I just had to turn off. There are so many things that are wrong with it that I don't even have the energy to start ranting...

  • Reply
    pookiebear 12 days ago - edited

    to be honest, i was against this project from the moment it was introduced.

    Death Note was my first anime and Light Yagami is still my biggest crush, Misa is still the most annoying female lead ever and L is cuter than Honey-senpai from OHSHC. Mamoru Miyano's fantastic voice acting made me CRAZY for the anime and even the thought of the voice, that musical evil laugh being someone else's made me angry (although the dub version of DN is also very good)

    Natt Wolff looked more like druggie in the trailer and upon reading "who is paid to do the homework of other students" this project made me give it an instant 0 without even watching 2 seconds of the movie.

    Lets examine why. Light Yagami was a genius, a total psychopath and the golden boy of school. Here, it sounds like Light TURNER is some typical nerd kid using his brain to solve math problems rather than actually killing off criminals to create his ideal world.

    L is not L without his deep eyebags, unkept hair, those comfy clothes and bare feet (and has surprisingly painful looking kicks). L is supposed to be a genius, charismatic detective waiting to get his hands on Kira to return justice to the world.

    From reading this post, I have now understood that the movie is nothing like the masterpiece Death Note is supposed to be.

    Next time, please don't ruin such great works of art, Netflix.

    also, i hope romance wasn't made a major theme of the movie. Death Note was a psychological mystery/thriller with that one kiss in episode 15 and Misa following Light around like a stalker and if they turned that around or made it into a romance, another 0 for them.

  • Reply
    FrodosMum 12 days ago

    Not that this has anything to do with the quality of the movie, but I don't understand the need to whitewash the lead when there are so many great asian actors who could take on the role. I liked Nat Wolff in movies such as Paper Towns and he is a good actor but the role of Light is another example of Hollywood denying minorities parts. (I will now step off my soapbox)

  • Reply
    xcrystalstarx 12 days ago - edited

    *wants to see it to see how bad it is* but I don't use netflix :(

  • Reply
    Bri 12 days ago

    Honestly, if anyone actually defends 2017 Death Note and says it was good, you got another thing coming....

  • Reply
    DrakeChandler 12 days ago

    I would dislike this movie a lot less if it weren't for the romance that is a central part of this film. The movie would have already been rushed no matter what, but at least the rise of Kira and the entire investigation to catch him would be more digestible if it didn't have to share screen time with Light figuring out just how much or little Mia means to him.

    The new elements to the story that include things like American expressionism and global terrorism are really cool ideas, but never have the time to grow as the movie just keeps cutting back to being an uninteresting young adult movie about a high school kid's coming of age story. This film never made me mad, and I always thought Death Note as a series did run on for too long (the two Japanese films were perfect length for me), but this film couldn't have been any more boring.

    I actually liked Lakeith Stanfield as L. He's a great actor and did the best out of anyone with the material given to him. Yes, Willem Dafoe made for an excellent Ryuk too, but he's hard to judge as having done so little in the film. Also, the actors did all their own stunts, which is cool. And the cinematography had some really cool shots. Really, the entire production is top notch when just speaking about technicalities. But those pros still cannot outweigh the 100 minute run time and terrible romance.

    I'll say this, I like it better than Ghost in the Shell for actually trying to be a movie with good ideas. GitS was just a shallow film that insulted me way more than this film did. Death Note's biggest enemy is simply how poorly put together it is. And that's a shame, because is it really so hard to make a coherent script out of a premise anyone can summarize in one sentence?

  • Reply
    Mareina 12 days ago

    I always thought Death Note was a story that whould be rather easy to adapt to western entertainment since it doesn't have many culture-specific elements. So it's sad to see this one fail so spectacularly.
    I have three major complaints about this adaption. One, nobody is really smart, some characters even outright dumb. What's exciting about the other versions is the cat-and-mouse game of wits, where our major players are always calculating a few steps ahead and it's lots of fun to try to guess who'll get the upper hand at each step or how they'll manage to wind their way out of intricate traps.
    The second complaint is the unnecessary brutality of the deaths. This adds absolutely nothing to the story, aside from some of the more ridiculous scenarios being unintentionally funny.
    Lastly, I never bought into the love story. She's just interested in the book and there's nothing particularly charming for him to like about her but her looks. So no emotional stakes involved at all.
    These are all things I'd also criticize if I'd never seen/read any other version. It's a disappointing adaption, sure, but as a standalone it's also a bad movie.

  • Reply
    Neyjour 12 days ago

    I’ve seen a LOT of remakes/adaptations in my life. Some have been disappointing, some were enjoyable despite the differences from the original/source material, and occassionally I’ve even enjoyed the remake/adaptation more than the original. But this one is, hands-down, the absolute worst I’ve ever seen.

    If you’ve never read the manga, seen the anime, or even seen the two original Japanese live action adaptations, you may find yourself enjoying this one. However, if you’ve seen one (or more) of the above, you’ll most likely be dissappointed, or even disgusted and angry.

    Death Note was my very first anime and still remains my top fave (with Fullmetal Alchemist as a close runner-up), and I was somewhat excited to hear about a new remake/adaptation… until I visited the IMDB page and saw how it was being ripped a new one, salted and burned, and stomped into oblivion. I was honestly a bit scared to watch it after reading those reviews, but finally decided that despite that, I’d try to give it a fair shake and just go into it knowing that there were going to be differences (a LOT of differences, apparently). But my god, “differences” just doesn’t cover it. It really hurt my heart to see how they completely butchered the story, characters, and the very essence of what made Death Note so wonderful, memorable, and much-loved.

    I honestly don’t know what they were thinking. But if their intentions were to piss off millions of fans world-wide, well… they succeeded in spades. And all I can say is, thank goodness I already had a subscription to Netflix, so it was essentially “free” for me (I didn’t have to pay extra to buy/rent), otherwise I probably would have walked away even more angry, disgusted, and disappointed than I already was.

    If you’ve never read/seen Death Note, please do yourself a favour and do NOT not start with this one. Read the manga, or watch the anime (or the Japanese live action adaptations) FIRST. I can honestly say that the hate for this film is not undeserved, and it would be a terrible shame for anyone to have this remake/adaptation (and I use those words very loosely) be their first impression of “Death Note”.

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