10.06.2009

Death Note 3 / L Change the World : 3 of 5

Somehow Death Note continues to march on with a third live-action movie, featuring everyone's favorite bizarre mastermind detective, L. In the altered ending of the Death Note story (much different than the manga or anime), you may remember that L wrote his own name in the Death Note in order to trap Light, scheduling himself to die in 23 days. L Change the World happens to be set during those three weeks and two days, so we get to see what L does with his remaining life (each day is announced with a countdown), including solving a huge case that threatens humanity itself! I had to keep reminding myself that the live-action world is a different story universe, so I could get over silly things like Watari's network of alphabet letter agents (we get to meet F in Thailand and K plays a major part as well). The bulk of the story involves a group of environmental extremists who want to save the Earth's ecosystem by wiping out mankind with a deadly virus, and L is joined by two children (a mathematical genius boy who survived the virus test in Thailand, and a scientist's daughter whose blood holds the key to the antidote) to save the day. It's kind of fun seeing the introverted, socially inept L start to bond with the kids (initially by giving them sweets, of course). I really enjoyed the references to the original Death Note movies, including cameos by Watari (who dies in front of Misa) and even Ryuk (with dramatically improved CG effects, in my opinion), who watches L burn the two Death Notes. The dramatic climax of the movie is also super exciting, but there are other scenes (such as a scientist's death) that go on much too long. Unfortunately, there's quite a bit of English spoken by Japanese actors in film, and their pronunciation is so awful that it really should have subtitles (but unfortunately, only the Japanese lines are subbed)! There's a nice scene at the very end with a nod to the original manga that fans will enjoy, but honestly I think all three Death Note films are better suited to fans anyway. Now I'm wondering if they'll find a way to squeeze out more Death Note material in the future!