For many of you Death Note fans, I'd imagine you have at least followed up and watched one if not both of the live action Death Note movies. Perhaps you were impressed, or just confused as the plot ran astray from the story the manga/anime follows. Either way, based on the sheer number of fans that showed up in American (and Japanese) theaters for the Death Note films, I can tell the movies generated plenty of interest and, being a Death Note fan myself, I know my interest was peaked. This became even more true when I read that the movies were so successful that L himself, a rather popular character to say the least, was getting a film, and when I saw this fan subbed last week for the first time I knew I had to watch it immediately.
First of all, I will have to give some small spoilers to the first two Death Note movies so I will try to do that quickly and be as precise as possible not to ruin those fine films. The story takes place when L himself is finishing up his battle with Light and, in doing so, writes his own name in the death note thus giving himself a limited amount of life and, by his choosing, a quiet death. Almost immediately, the Kira issue is resolved and never returned to, and L for the most part begins to count down his days in relative peace.
Across the world in Thailand, peace is not apparent as a town has been ravaged by a unique virus in an apparent test case by some military/terrorist organization. K, along with L a member of Wammy's House (Watari), finds a boy who shows no apparent sign of infection and at the risk of his own life sends him of to contact Watari. At the same time Maki Nikaido, daughter to a genius biochemist, finds her father victim to the same disease in his research lab and, in an attempt to escape the culprits, also tries to find Watari. L, since Watari is now dead, takes care of both of the children as he realizes that he may still have time in his life to help protect the world from the terrorist and their plot to use the virus to kill millions.
The director, Hideo Nakata, in an interview with The Star stated that he "wanted to portray L’s human side", and truly this movie focuses on not just L's own humanity, but each and everyone in the world's as we see the villains trying to 'save the world' with destruction, while L himself, soon to die, tries as best as he can to protect those around few around him. This is an L who is out of his element, both with Watari gone, and now having to take care of 2 scared children, yet L, more or less a child himself in many ways, does his best to rise to the challenge.
Contrary to the two Death Note films, this movie has little of the action that the previous two had, and frankly not much of the 'genius' characteristics that L shows customarily is here either; however, for myself as a Death Note fan, I was enchanted by the movie as L, played by the very talented actor Ken'ichi Matsuyama, comes to life perfectly. Don't worry too much, there are a couple of bloody scenes, two of which quite amazingly so, but in general this is less about foiling a terrorist plot and more about L and his last days on earth.
Monday, July 7, 2008
L: Change The WorLd: Review
Posted by Michael at 10:58 AM