One of the most popular animes to come out of Japan, Death Note, has been immortalised in two live action movies. The first movie simply called Death Note was a box office smash knocking The Da Vinci Code off the top spot in the Japanese theatres. This review will look at the DVD itself and the production value behind it. But first, for the uninitiated, a brief background into the Death Note story. It revolved around an A grade student called Light Yagami who is bored academically as he feels there are no more challenges to really test him. This all changes the day he finds a Death Note belonging to a death god or shinigami called Ryuk who also happens to bored with life in the shinigami realm. The Death Note has the power to kill anyone by writing their name in the book while picturing that person’s face. Light decides he can change the world by eliminating the criminals with Ryuk as his mentor and guide. Top detective, L, decides to take on the challenge of bringing the unknown killer to justice thus beginning a cat and mouse game between the two brilliant minds of Light and L.
The movie has been handled with precision directing under the instruction of Shūsuke Kaneko who directed both Death Note movies. Anyone familiar with the anime or manga will love the way this well loved favourite has been handled as the film moves along at a cracking pace never letting the viewer out of its grasp. Visually the movie is beautiful to look at as the stylised feel of the anime has been transferred to the screen in an accurate and sublime manner that can be so rare of anime to live action transfers. The actors portraying L and Light have been extremely well cast and play a thrilling game of good versus evil that makes viewing this movie an absolute must.
Moving onto the extras, there’s a couple of humourous clips where the two main leads gave press interviews and they were playing it up for the cameras by talking over each other and getting in the way of each other as they were answering their questions, funny stuff. Production diaries, a clip of a special viewing in Japan, meeting the audience in Japan and a picture gallery round off the movie related extras. There’s the usual assortment of trailers and tv spots that are worth watching and of course there’s always the random selection of other anime’s that Viz Media are plugging. All in all, still worth watching and checking out when you’re done with the movie.
Two thumbs up for this movie and a must view for any anime fan wanting to extend their Death Note experience, highly recommended and a must buy.