A Shinigami [Death God] drops the Death Note onto Earth. Any names written within the book will die within 40 seconds of a heart attack. A narcisstic megalomanic genius picks up the book with intentions of killing off all the criminals in the world and creating a new world order in which he is God Supreme.
What a great plot premise, no? You really have to read the manga to appreciate the intricacies and plot twists and turns of this manga. My more barbarian friend may disagree with me, but I feel it is this which makes the manga truly stand out from the rest of those on the market, not to mention the novelty of the plot, whereby the main character is a kind of villian, rather than savior.
All this, to me, is lost in the movie.
To me, this movie is another reminder why I should never watch book-movie adaptions. [bleargh] Because in almost every movie in which I have read the book before, [most notable example being Harry Potter] I have been bitterly disappointed by the lack of depth in plot and character in a movie. Face it, a 2 1/2 hour movie is just not enough to truly do justice to a good sized book, let alone a manga whereby the storyline runs over 12 volumes!
Suddenly, the characters become more 2D, an irony since they are obviously 3D characters adapted from a 2D book. The plot becomes more shallow and brainless. There is no 'mindfuck' in watching the movie, [the term 'mindfuck' being attributed to a certain swingin' fren overseas] and hence there is no mental titillation. There was nothing to excite me about the whole plot and I ended up getting pretty bored halfway through the movie. Like, kill someone already.
Manga is better
Part of the problem is also that I've read the entire frickin' series. I know how he did all his tricks, I know how the plot will develop, I even know how the frickin' thing is gonna end. What on earth is there to look forward to for me then???
And there's a part 2 even. *swoon* I'm not sure whether I should spare myself the agony, or just watch it for closure.
The Prestige and The Departed
"Hey! I'm sorry I said Christian Bale was cuter than you, OK???"
Interestingly enough, the 2 movies that I watched with him on Sunday had the common theme of deception in their scripts.
The magicians of The Prestige are essentially liars. They make you believe that they are capable of performing amazing magic, where actually, they just rely on props and showmanship to deceive you for that moment. The policemen and gangsters in The Departed are just liars, since a mole is basically that. He lies about what he is, in order to conceal what he truly is.
To him, these were both movies that left a bad aftertaste in the mouth. [his exact words, not mine] They are not feel-good movies, and even their endings may not be pretty. I feel at least that the Prestige had a pretty good twist at the end, which somewhat acted like a sort of prestige for the film. Actually, it seems that the whole film was meant to be played sort of like a magic trick. You see an ordinary object, and then the magician does something to that object. But the part that truly amazes you, the audience, is the part at the end, where he brings the bird back from where he made it disappear, and that is the Prestige. In the same way, the twist at the end was such an unthinkable ending, that it really was a Prestige in a sense.
The Departed was based on the movie Infernal Affairs, which yes, I had watched before, but somehow I didn't suffer the same boring deja vu I had while watching Death Note. I did know how the plot was going to proceed and how it would end, but the western adaption of the film was so different from the original HK version that it became entertaining to watch on its own, if only for the colourful characters that peppered the film. It just shows, Hollywood has a certain skill in adaptation. [probably because of a lack of creative scriptwriters... hahaha]
If you have to watch them, I say go for either the Departed or the Prestige. I liked these two better, even if it didn't have the happy endings that he wanted. :p