As I write this, I’ve just come from seeing Ghost In the Shell. Thanks to those pesky embargoes, you will have to wait a while till we can talk about it fully, but for now I can just say much that it does a solid job in adapting the anime world of the original. Of course Ghost In the Shell’s colourful, cyberpunk narrative and world just seems like a perfect fit for a big budget film, but the same doesn’t hold true for all anime. Some are bit weirder and out of left field, relying on odd concepts and extended arcs rather than flashy spectacle. That doesn’t always translate well to the language of feature film. Netflix and director Adam Wingard are still going to give it a try though.
The world’s biggest streaming service and the filmmaker behind such distinct breakout indie hits as You’re Next and The Guest have teamed up to tackle an English-language Hollywood feature film adaptation of popular Japanese manga/anime series Death Note (it’s already had four previous live-action Japanese adaptations). We haven’t seen much of this latest adaptation thus far, but last night the first teaser trailer finally got released and it looks great!
It’s not too explanatory though, so for those of you who aren’t familiar with the original – and you really should remedy that because it’s phenomenal – the story follows Paper Towns’ Nat Wolff as Light Turner (originally named Light Yagami), a high school student who stumbles across a mysterious and powerful notebook. As Light discovers, any person whose name you write in the book dies – and in exactly the manner you describe if you go into detail. Light is not the nicest person though and so quickly becomes intoxicated with this godlike power, and starts to kill people he judges and finds guilty of various offences, setting off a chain of events with massive repercussions. Oh and there’s a very creepy looking death god who has a fondness for apples.
Check out the teaser trailer below.
Like I said, not very explanatory. As far as visuals go though, this looks fantastic with Wingard’s now signature use of neon colours and *cough* light in full effect. We only get a shadowy glimpse of the “shinigami” aka death god Ryuk, but we can clearly hear Willem Dafoe’s voice for him and I think it sounds perfect. We also only get the very briefest of glimpses – and a hooded one, at that -around the 0:20 mark of Keith Stanfield as L, the weird and enigmatic genius detective that attempts to track down the perpetrator of all these mysterious killings.
In a Reddit AMA last year, Wingard explained how he was approaching the adaptation:
I think Anime are due for the same treatment that comics got when Nolan did Batman. I think the key is straying away from overt Anime style like Speed Racer and Dragon Ball and instead try to ground the stories in more relatable ways. With Death Note I tried to give it a gritty lived in look. With that said DEATH NOTE is going to be my most insane movie yet. It makes the Guest look conventional.
I really loved The Guest, so I can’t wait for this!
Death Note also stars Margaret Qualley, Paul Nakauchi, and Shea Whigham. It will premiere on Netflix on 25 August. Here’s the full official synopsis:
Based on the famous Japanese manga written by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, Death Note follows a high school student who comes across a supernatural notebook, realizing it holds within it a great power; if the owner inscribes someone’s name into it while picturing their face, he or she will die. Intoxicated with his new godlike abilities, the young man begins to kill those he deems unworthy of life.