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Got an hour and forty minutes to kill? Review on Death Note (US) 2017…

The adaption that nobody asked for was finally released….

When I write a review about something I try to remain positive and optimistic. I try to see the good in a project and give it a fair go. I went into watching the new ‘Death Note’ film that has been released on Netflix on August 25th with an open mind. With that said my mind was blown as to how bad it was. It was just plain terrible.

Now, before I continue I must confess. Although I have seen a good majority of episodes, I have yet to complete ‘Death Note’ anime series. That said I know the characters and the general plot of the story where Light becomes the holder of the Death Note book and any name that is written in the book would face their untimely death.

Now this production was exactly what Netflix would produce, an over budget show filled with gore and sexual content. We start the film on such a confusing note, the main character Light Turner is an ‘edgy’ teen in a typical American high school that mysteriously ends up with a book that fell from the sky. I wish I was making that up but that is exactly what happens.

The pacing and general plot of the movie was so ridiculous when I was watching it I would be questioning my own sanity as to why I was still watching. The script was just bad. Some of the dialogue between the characters was just so ridiculous you felt as if you eyes would roll back so hard in your head. The characters in the film were just not what you would expect, particularly from the main leads, Light (Kira) and Mia. From what the film makes it out to be is that Light and Mia team up to use the Death Note to get rid of the scum, getting their thrills from doing this. It was just an odd development for the characters and completely unrealistic. It makes it even more insane towards the end of the movie. On note of the characters, the actor that plays Light/Kira was completely terrible. This movie could have had some sort of potential if they got an actor that could actually act. He was just bad. I can’t even be nice about it.

I want to rant and rant more about this movie, but it would be spoiling it for everyone. It is just not my cup of tea. It could have been a decent adaption for western audiences if they paid more attention to the script, plot devices, the main actor and general delivery of scenes. I was one of those people that crave more adaptions of anime to western screens, but if this is what they are putting out into the universe, just keep it. Was there anything redeeming in this film? Sure Willem Dafoe, the dude is damn scary and brilliant, only perfect casting choice in this film. Also the soundtrack was interesting. It took on a strange 80’s vibe which actually strangely fit the darkness that this film was trying to portray.

If you are a Death Note fan I strongly suggest you stay with the anime. If you are a casual fan what the hell give it a shot, but don’t go into watching this film thinking it will win any awards. It is a teen angst drama filled with sex and gore. It would be like if Twilight was given a budget.

I rate this 1/5.

Review: A Letter to Momo (Movie)

*Thank you to Madman Entertainment for the review copy*

letter momo

A Letter to Momo is a feature film from director Hiroyuki Okiura, responsible for past works as diverse as Blood: The Last Vampire (key animator) to legendary anime, Akira (key animator). But despite both those films, and a large number in his works being action oriented, this time around he takes a soft handed approach when directing this feature.

The titular Momo is an 11 year old girl who along with her mother make the move from the big life in Tokyo to a smaller island far removed what she knows called Shio. The move comes as a direct result of Momo’s father being killed in a workplace accident and her mother needing a change of pace and scenery following the traumatic event. After his death, Momo finds a letter in her father’s handwriting which simply starts with “Dear Momo”. Coming into her life when she least expects it are three goblin characters from a book which she accidentally unseals just by opening it. A serious of mishaps then follow and eventuate as we quickly learn that only Momo can see them which leads to some interesting experiences.

The film has been rendered in a really light colour palette which lends it an air of a simpler time, especially of a time on a remote tranquil island. It is a longer movie at around 120 minutes long but the film maker has woven a richly dense tale with unique characters and side plots. The relationships which Momo develops during the course of the movie go a long ways to helping her adjust to her new life and you find yourself really caring for her. Her relationships with the island locals and in particular their ideal pastime of jumping of a bridge into the water below, something which Momo can’t seem to bring herself to do, raises some parallels with her new life. One the one hand, she detests her new life and asks her mother to take her back to Tokyo but on the other hand, she seems really determined and driven to find out more about the mysterious letter she’s found with two words on it.

I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this film and story and found it extremely rewarding, rich and beautiful to watch. Momo’s relationship with her three new goblin friends shows fantastic character development from being completely at odds with each at the start to a completely different dynamic being shown by the end of the movie. A great deal of work has gone into the visual style of the film with great detail in the artwork, the island looks like a living, breathing community full of hustle and bustle. If you’re a fan of slower paced anime with a more down to Earth storyline, then you simply have to watch A Letter to Momo. It’s a movie that will stay with you long after you’ve finished watching it.

[starreview tpl=16] Fantastic looking movie with a pleasant storyline that builds a great, tight story by the end. If you want a break from action anime, give this a go!

Screening Information

Reel Anime Site

Review: The Garden of Words (Movie)

First off in starting this, I’d like to thank Madman for the advance copies of the Reel Anime event held in Australia and New Zealand. Details where you can catch this film will follow after the review.

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The Garden of Words comes to us produced by Noritaka Kawaguchi and directed by Makoto Shinkai. Makoto has an impressive pedigree being responsible for amazing feature films such as 5 Centimeters Per Second and Children Who Chase Lost Voices just to name a couple. He is also often referred to as “The New Miyazaki”, a reference to Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli fame.

The film takes part in the absolutely lush garden settings of the Japanese Garden in Shinjuku, an impressive garden in the middle of the city much like Central Park in New York. Takao Akizuki is a young 15-year-old still in high school who takes to skipping the morning class everytime it rains. It’s during one of these escapades that he comes across and befriends Yukari Yukino, an older 20 something professional lady who comes to the garden only when it rains. The two soon strike up a friendship sharing food and stories between them. Akizuki reveals that he has a burning passion to design and make shoes, something that we see often with his sketch pad filled with designs and with works in progress at his home.

His home is shared with his older brother and their mother who is never home having a penchant for chasing younger men and also for being known as quite the drama queen. The film revolves around their routine encounters and the friendship they strike however, there is a twist in the story which I won’t spoil here but needless to say, it does have the potential to drastically alter their relationship.

The film is extremely well paced and flows nicely and always leaves you wanting to see more into the meetings and what will happen next. A special mention has to go out to the ridiculously sublime animation throughout the movie as well as the impeccable attention to detail. From the streets and Shinjuku landmarks, to the railways stations with accurate depictions of platform signs and the garden itself. The gorgeous shades of green and amazing clarity in the detail is nothing short of astounding and will leave you breathless, it’s quite stunning. Kudos to the sound department for also conveying the sounds of the city where you can then appreciate the quiet and tranquility that is always present in the garden.

This film needs to be seen anyone who can appreciate a cute movie and for anyone who has ever been left wanting more or feeling like they were a part of something bigger than just themselves. Highly recommend it, it’s long at around 45 minutes but the makers have managed to fit in so much and weave a beautiful and engaging story.

[starreview tpl=16] Absolutely sublime, couldn’t look away and one of the most beautiful movies ever made.

Screening Information

Reel Anime Site