Basking in the glory of the freshly wrapped-up Stanger Things 4, the Duffer Brothers, unsurprisingly, have renewed their deal with Netflix. According to Netflix’s recent announcement, Matt and Ross Duffer formed Upside Down Pictures and are to develop several projects for the streaming platform. Among them is an all-new live-action Death Note Netflix adaptation of the beloved Manga and anime by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata.
But wait, didn’t the giant streamer already try its hand at adapting the renowned anime into a live-action movie? Oh yes, back in 2017. It is probably the disappointing performance of the movie that has motivated Netflix to give it one more shot.
What went wrong with Death Note 2017?
Similar to the source material, the film indicates that anyone possessing the magical notebook has the power to execute justice. However, the much anticipated 2017 live-action version of the cult classic was a major letdown for critics and fans alike. The Verge called it, “a disappointing turn for a well-loved franchise“.
Whether it was the storyline or director Adam Wingard’s vision for the protagonist, The Verge review of the film took down every aspect. According to them, “If the film’s writers or director Adam Wingard envisioned Light as a likable character, the on-screen version is a spectacular failure. Light falls somewhere between an unhinged sadist and whiny teenager.”
They also questioned the motivations of the characters and said, “Death Note’s characters tend to bleat out their innermost feelings in bursts of forced exposition, but those feelings aren’t always reflected in their actions. There’s a constant clash between their lives, and how they explain their lives.”
While comparing the live-action adaptation to the original version, The Verge states, “Light is a charismatic, popular student who discovers his dark side, and the strength of his villainy stems from his charm. He schemes while hiding in plain sight. He uses those closest to him to get what he wants. His fall from grace belongs not just to him, but those who love him.”
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Ratings and Fan Reviews
Apart from the bad reviews, the 2017 Death Note also got pretty low ratings on most of the platforms. Its IMDb score is a mere 4.5/10 as compared with its original anime series, which is 9.0/10. Even Rotten Tomatoes gave the live-action adaptation just a 37% while its original counterpart got a whopping 100%.
Death Note (original) appealed to both avid fans and the novice. For many, it was a gateway to this wonderful world of Japanese storytelling. The 2017 Netflix adaptation by Adam Wingard had immense potential to expand the reach of mangas and animes. Sadly, it completely fizzled out. Even Twitter didn’t shy away from expressing its disdain for the Americanized, almost whitewashed version of the fan-favored anime.
I don't want to be skeptic but I've watched at least 4 death note live actions adaptations and all of them are really bad 💀 especially the 2017 netflix one, it was the worst
— VAN-arts (@VMelodyta) July 6, 2022
the 2017 death note live action is so much better if you appreciate it through a trash lens. i've never laughed so much in my life than i did watching this
— ✩ the ocean is blue ✩ (@abyssutena) July 7, 2022
the worst thing the Death Note (2017) adaptation was completely throw out Lights entire character and replace him with a boring, stupid, morally confusing guy named fucking “Light Turner”
— • cherry • (@cherrymoped) July 6, 2022
Death Note 2017
Woah I hate everything about this movie. I'm not even a huge fan of Death Note but this just felt insulting. Like you're telling me you got Willem Defoe AND LaKeith Stanfield and you still can't make me like it??? pic.twitter.com/GEreIEtprQ
— Eldenskaart | Thank you Miura (@Muskaart) June 29, 2022
Death Note ? Again oh hell no it was already ruined with that horrible movie from 2017 no ma’am pic.twitter.com/ZTJn8WyH4H
— Jennifer 🍒🌼 (@Jenniferp997) July 7, 2022
While some fans are still skeptical about yet another remake streaming on Netflix, many are hopeful. Especially fans of Stranger Things expect the Duffer Brothers to redeem the 2017 Death note and make it a faint memory. Anyway, until that time, re-watch the original 2006 anime series of Death Note on Netflix! What are your expectations for the adaptation?