8 July 2008 | Tivor X-09137
If you are a fan of L's eccentricities, you'll love it. Otherwise....
First off, a note to the Death Note fans who have only enjoyed the anime/manga series: This movie is a sequel to the two live-action Death Note movies. The two movies follow an alternate ending to the Death Note anime/manga storyline, and this movie follows up to that. Therefore, if you don't know the movie ending, then you'll be left scratching your head where this movie fits in the timeline.
Another note to the people who are expecting another epic battle of wits between L and a new Kira and/or a new Shinigami (Death God): This movie does not have it. At all.
Light, Misa, and Ryuk only make a brief appearance, pretty much to recap and wrap up a small loose end from the previous movies, and that's it. This movie is about a whole new case, unrelated to Death Notes and Shinigamis. There is a reason why the words "Death Note" are not in the title of this movie. This is likely going to be a major sticking point to most fans of the Death Note franchise.
Not helping is the fact that the new case and the storyline (and the way it's told) isn't really much to write home about. The villain is supposed to be a super-genius of L's ilk, but we never get the kind of duel of the minds we've come to expect from Death Note. And for all the threat that the villain poses, the movie simply doesn't feel that suspenseful. In fact, one "horrific" death scene just ends up being unintentionally comical. As a crime thriller goes, this is a mundanely written and directed work. If such aspects are what you will be watching this movie for, you are going to be seriously disappointed.
So what should you be watching this movie for? L being L (and the actor Ken'ichi Matsuyama's top-notch portrayal of him), and L making human connections with children.
Does that description make you roll your eyes? If so, then this movie is definitely not for you.
But if you are the kind of person who enjoys L's eccentricities -- and maybe even finds him flat-out adorable for those qualities -- then you are absolutely going to love this movie. The director Hideo Nakata has said that he wanted to show L's previously unseen "human side" with this film, and in this respect, he delivers in spades.
I watched this movie at Los Angeles Anime Expo 2008 in an auditorium with 1000+ people, and I got a huge kick out of this movie. Fans were giddily screaming when L did one of his signature eccentric moves, oooh-ing and awww-ing when L showed his tender side, and hollering "YEAH!!!" when L made a triumphant heroic entrance. Grand joyous time was had by all.
To me, this movie was the perfect homage to L and his fans. And as such, I'm giving this movie an unabashedly inflated score of 8/10. If I were to rate it as a straightforward crime thriller movie, I might go as low as 4/10.
This movie is strictly for the fans of L's eccentricities only. Everybody else can safely skip this movie.