Please don’t ruin it, Netflix.
[dropcap size=small]B[/dropcap]ack in 2015, news surfaced that Netflix was making a live-action adaptation of Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata’s hit manga and anime series, Death Note.
Starring Nat Wolff (Paper Towns) in the title role as Light, and Willem Dafoe as the voice of the Shinigami Ryuk, Netflix has dropped the very first teaser trailer.
Check it out below:
— Netflix US (@netflix) March 22, 2017
In the trailer, we see our first proper glimpses of Wolff as Light, as well as the infamous Death Note book itself. It also features a nod to Ryuk with the inclusion of an apple and shows off the film’s setting, which appears to be in Seattle.
Many have been quick to dismiss the adaptation altogether after this teaser, and the casting has been criticised for its whitewashing of the characters.
I have to admit I’m getting a horrible sinking feeling in my gut that this adaptation will deliver an edgy teen drama loosely based on Death Note, and nothing more. But I’m willing to concede that it’s still early days yet.
Adam Wingard – who directed the Blair Witch remake last year – is at the film’s helm, which could be this adaptation’s saving grace, and Dafoe as Ryuk is sure to be a good thing. But given the overwhelming popularity of the original works, this film has a lot to live up to, to begin with.
Death Note was at the height of its popularity back in 2006 when the anime adaptation received international acclaim. In the years to follow, a string of Japanese live-action movies – starring Tatsuya Fujiwara as Light Yagami – were released, including the recent 2016 film Death Note: Light Up the New World.
US adaptations of famous Japanese manga and anime series has been on the rise in recent years, with the latest upcoming US adaptation to hit the big screens being Ghost in the Shell. Death Note’s complex themes make it a cut above, and at the heart of the manga and anime series, it explored the moral ambivalence of its characters with style and finesse. Last year, reports emerged that the adaptation will include swearing, nudity and “tons and violence”, which – if done badly – could easily take away any real substance from the movie.
Whilst I personally don’t think this film is necessary at all, we can still live in hope that it will try to stay true to the original works without spoiling it entirely.
Death Note is set to be released on Netflix August 25.