Michael Crichton, known for writing great books such as Timeline and Airframe, producing the award winning series ER, and directing films such as Westworld and Twister. Westworld may sound familiar as it was the inspiration for the current TV series, and of course the most know him as the writer responsible for the books Jurassic Park draws from. Basically, anything he touches is amazing.
Unfortunately, Mr.Crichton did not have a hand in the creation of this movie inspired by his novel by the same name, and it clearly showed. At first I thought I was being too critical, having read the book before watching. Nope. It was just bad. I will just say, it was one of those movies where it felt like the screenwriter read the book, didn't like or understand it, but still felt obligated to sort of follow the plot. So certain things would be pulled from the book, but it would make no sense because other things were completely changed. And there was no clear direction. They could have gone hard on the action, but the movie tip-toed around it. They could have gone hard on the psychology, but instead through in random lines from the book that made no sense in the context of the movie plot.
This movie is a prime example of why I generally avoid movies based on my most beloved books unless I have good reason to think they will be good.
Death Note (2017) - 2/10
I decided I also needed a reason not to watch live-action version of anime and manga, and in that sense I can say I wasn't disappointed. When it comes down to the actual movie itself, I am not sure if the swerving away from the source material in tone is what bothered me, or what it said about American culture as a whole.
HEM *SPOILERS* HEM
So in the anime, it's about this genius high school kid who is disenchantment with all the crappy stuff that happens in the world. Then one day this notebook falls into his hands that gives him the power to kill people if he writes their name in it. He then uses this power to try to purge the world of criminals, largely succeeding for much of the show. The real essence of the show is him in a battle of wits with this other genius kid detective who is trying to stop the death note. It's pitting two incredibly clever individuals against each other in a battle where each side has radically different world views. Despite the gruesome topic of mass murder, the series is thought provoking and interesting. At least the first 25 episodes.
Then we have the movie. It felt like one of those cash grab tv shows, where the emphasis is on two things - sex and violence. The main character isn't a cold calculated genius who sees this book as an opportunity to change the world for the better, he's a fairly smart kid who has "behavior issues" because his mom died and decides to use the book like a moody child who acts on his emotions. You know, between his make out sessions with his new girlfriend who also thinks its fun. Then you had detective genius, who wasn't as much a genius as he was just smarter than all the other super dumbed down characters around him. And instead of detached and focused, he was largely driven by emotion. But I think that really identifies my issue with it, it felt like it was just an attempt to incite emotion. She's half naked, I like that. His head was just taken off, that's gruesome. His friend just died, that makes me sad and angry.
Needless to say, I will not be watching Sword Art Online when they make that live action, no matter how cool the images look. *shakes fist at Ryuk*
The Japanese live action version isnt too bad (I believe it was in a mini series format though). Of course the anime is the best version imo (though I understand why people say the manga instead) but I'd recommend the Japanese live action because it stays true to the storyline and characters pretty well.