The 2nd Dimension

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Viewing Journal: L Change the World

Movie Overview
DVD Info

Overall= D
Story = D
Video = C
Audio = C


After writing his own name in the Death Note in order to beat Light Yagami, L now has only 28 days before he dies of a heart attack. But L can't call it quits yet. Sent by F, L receives a mathematical genius child, whom witnessed his home village destroyed by terrorists armed with a deadly virus. Now, L must battle K and her group of terrorists, as they attempt to develop an antidote to save themselves before they release the deadly virus on the world. With the help of Maki, a girl who's father killed himself stopping the terrorists, and Sugura, a FBI agent looking for the Death Note, L must not only fight the terrorists, but also against the clock, ticking down on his life. (Source: ANN)

And now for second title in my list of stuff that I watched months ago but am only getting around to reviewing now: L Change the World. This is the follow-up to the two previous Death Note live-action movies and does not correspond to anything in the manga or anime. It tells the story of master detective L who, at the end of the second movie, wrote his own name in the Death Note (which, in case you've never been exposed to Death Note before, is a notebook in which anyone who's name is written will die) in order to defeat Light Yagami. As a result he only has 28 days to live; but when L finds out about a terrorist plot to use a deadly virus to eradicate humanity, he has to dedicate those final days to saving the world.

Putting aside the connection the movie has with the Death Note franchise; even as a standalone film, this movie is trite and cliche and doesn't take advantage of its potential. Eco-terrorists intend to spread a deadly virus throughout the world -- while saving the antidote for themselves -- and the only one who can stop them is L. It sounds more like a bad James Bond film than anything from Death Note. The movie's title "L Change the World" seems to imply that L causes humanity to go through some epic transformation as his last act in the world; but nothing of the sort happens. And it could have been an epic, especially given that L had all of the genius children at the Whammy House at his disposal. But, even though some of the Whammy House children are involved, their genius isn't used to any great extent. And the whole movie is to be counting down to L's death, so it would have been great if he would have been fighting up until the minute he died, and maybe his death would somehow be the thing that defeated the villains. But instead he defeats the villains with a good couple of days to spare, which totally deflates the tension. So by the conclusion, I found myself anxious to just get to L's death already.

Even though this is a Death Note movie, it has none of the qualities that made the original story so great. I love the manga, anime, and even the first two movies' story because there are two (or sometimes more) strong, intelligent characters who would be constantly trying to out-think one another in order to get the upper hand. There is a lot of strategy involved that leads to exciting and surprising plot twists. But in this movie, even though the main villain is a genius from Whammy House, she does not do anything strategy-wise to indicate that she is any smarter than the average villain.

In fact, neither does L; and that is what really makes this movie sink. L doesn't show any of his genius world-renown detective skills here. The movie is just him chasing after people and using his physical resources to solve the crime, not his intelligence. Instead, the story tries to make up for this lack of personality by pushing his love of sweets and his hunched over posture as his sole personality traits.

Overall, it is pretty blatantly obvious that this is purely an attempt to milk a little more money out of the Death Note name, and a very lazy attempt at that. The writers did little more than take the L character, strip him of everything that made him a engaging and intelligent character, amp up his superficial traits, and then drop him in a cliche destroy-the-world plot. So don't be duped into watching this because you want to be a Death Note completist, since there is little here other than the main character's name that makes this a Death Note story, and nothing that makes it worth watching for anyone who is not familiar with the original story.

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