Thursday, June 30, 2011

L: Change the World - review

Last night I stayed up way too late once again. This was in order to finish up the Death Note live-action trilogy. I've already given my impressions of the first two films, and while they didn't blow me away, I couldn't leave the trilogy unfinished. When I was first learning about these movies, the one that interested me the most was this final entry, L: Change the World. It plays out after an alternate reality ending to Death Note, so I was interested to see where it went. Unfortunately, it seems to have squandered its chance to do anything interesting. No worries, I'll make sure to keep this spoiler-free as well.

Here's the thing that bothered me the most about this movie. It really had absolutely nothing to do with the Death Note series. Obviously it features a few characters from Death Note, but the bulk of the movie itself wasn't really tied into Death Note. There was one driving force that kept the story somewhat related to the Death Note universe, but by and large, this was a movie that could have existed without any ties to Death Note.

I know that there's a novel that lead to this film, and I'm really going to have to sit down and read it. I want to see how much better or worse of a job the novel does than the movie. I do think it's an interesting idea to see how a character's universe can be expanded outside of a series, but this particular film didn't really seem to pull it all together for me. The main character, L, is supposed to be one of the world' best detectives. It's completely feasible that he's solved many other cases, and those cases would make for interesting movies. This particular case is tacked on at the end of the Death Note series, and it felt like a quick cash-in to me.

The other big problem I have with this film is the way in which L acts. I believe that too many liberties were taken with L in this film. He acts outside of the boundaries for his established character. There are things you love about L that don't really shine through in this film. There are also certain rules for the character and decisions for his motives that just don't exist in this film. I understand that L is supposed to be breaking out of his set ways here, but some of the actions that L takes are extremely out of character. If you've come to know and understand L over the the past couple movies or anime/manga series, it's very hard to believe that he'd act the way he does in this film.

Again, as I said with the other films, this one isn't a complete disaster. I just feel it to be the weakest of the three. At the very least, we get to spend more time with L, and we also get to fill in some gaps that the last two movies left. I did enjoy learning the details behind some of the conversations and actions that closed out the second movie. On top of that, there are a few touching scenes with L in this film that sit well with me. Was that content worth the viewing? I personally don't think so, but at least I didn't come away empty-handed.

All in all, the Death Note trilogy of films is...interesting. I guess I am happy to have seen them, if only to know what takes place in each one. The first two films were an interesting take on what happened in the anime/manga, even if I wouldn't call them great. The third film stands out as the oddball in the series. Even if you liked the other two films, I can't promise that you'll enjoy this one. My suggestion is for hardcore Death Note fans to check these features out, but others may want to introduce themselves to the franchise through the anime/manga instead of this.

4 out of 10

1 comment:

  1. I actually preferred the Death Note movies to the anime/manga. Didn't watch L, though.

    I just found the movies packaged everything up nicely and tossed out the unnecessary fluff. That and I actually like the performance from the guy who played L and Light's father.