• Ryuk. (Madman Entertainment)Source: Madman Entertainment
Death Note: Light Up The New World hit cinemas in Australia last night, there were apples, chips, pens and death. But does it live up to expectation? Or is it time we finally let this story die an unnatural death and write its name in a suspicious notebook?
By
11 Nov 2016 - 11:47 AM  UPDATED 21 Nov 2016 - 10:32 AM

Death Note: Light Up The New World picks up 10 years after the last Death Note movies took place. The Death God has set the Shinigami a task of finding one who will surpass Kira (a god-like figure who kills evil people as punishment for their sins), and Death Notes are sent to Earth. The authorities have a fair idea of what's going on when bodies start to pile up, but they're missing their greatest weapon against those who would play God. Almost. The descendants of Light and L are in this new world and are once more destined to engage in battle.

Comparing apples with....grapes.

To watch this new film and not think of how previous Death Note stories have been told, is almost impossible. If you've never seen Death Note before and this film is your introduction to the world, you can probably still enjoy it. However, for those who've seen and enjoyed the previous Death Note movies, this is one you'll want to put on your watch list. (I said WATCH list....And for goodness sake, be careful about the books you're writing lists in). There are enough fan references to the original movies, anime and manga that for the die-hard fan, it's a real treat.

Be warned though, this is a different story. These are new characters, many of whom have been formed by Kira's actions in the movie before it. It has shades and references to the characters you loved, but this is a new set of people. If you go looking for L and Light, you may be bitterly disappointed.

Masaki Suda is excellent in his role, his maniacal grin mixing with cold resolution, makes him an enjoyable villain to watch.

The entire Death Note investigation squad are a mix of serious and funny - that we learned to love in the previous story. But telling you more about them might give away important plot points. Just trust me, they're what you need in your life.

Sōsuke Ikematsu plays Ryūzaki and much like his character, has the hardest job of all – surpassing his successor, L. But he manages it.

L is an iconic character. His character is singular, which no doubt will always pose a problem for any actor trying to play him and do it properly. But, Ryūzaki is not L and we learn this within our first few minutes of meeting him. Where L was calculating and a bit odd, Ryūzaki feels chaotic and dangerous. There are moments where you might be forgiven (or at least, I'll forgive you) for feeling as though you're watching The Dark Knight's Joker trying to solve a murder mystery.

An apple a day....Doesn't keep the Shinigami away....

You will get to see Shinigami and not just Ryuk. I wish there had been more time with them and more time exploring the world of the Shinigami society. Still, perhaps that's the point, to show the Shinigami but not explain too much about them. The plot is as complex as the previous storyline, with even less time to tell it in, so it makes sense.

The Pen is Mightier Than The Sword

There's a lot of death and violence in this film. It's not on the same level as As The Gods Will, but is still pretty intense. It has the same Death Note narrative formula consisting of one-third LOLs and two-thirds kicks in the feels. I'd forgotten how bloody and violent the previous Death Note story could be and to the credit of those who made the film, they let me forget it for the first part of the movie. I was lulled into a false sense of security and it was swiftly ripped out of my hands, like a piece of paper out of a book...

This film is a clever tribute to the story that came before it, while also being strong enough to stand on its own legs. It had a huge task ahead of it, much like the characters in the movie, of living up to the legacy left to them all those years ago. It's not just Death Note they're up against, it's the years and years we've all spent loving its memory too.

5 out of 6 apples, and 8 grapes out of a bunch of 12.

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