The first full trailer for Netflix’s Death Note has arrived, which is just the latest high-profile film title set to be released by the streaming service this year. Based on the beloved anime/manga property of the same name, the adaptation features an Americanized set of characters and locations but follows the same outline and story as the source material. Set in Seattle, WA, the film follows a teenage boy named Light (Nat Wolff), who becomes in possession of a book that allows him to kill anyone he wishes by merely writing their name down in it. Light’s use of the book involves him working with the supernatural being in control of it, Ryuk (Willem Dafoe), who is a Shinigami or “God of Death.”
There’s been a fair amount of controversy surrounding this anime/manga film adaptation, especially since the Death Note teaser trailer was released back in March – with fans criticizing the film for having a whitewashed cast and Americanized setting. And considering just well how many of Hollywood’s whitewashed attempts at adapting beloved anime and manga properties have turned out in the past – including this year’s critically-maligned Ghost in the Shell – that outcry has only grown louder over the past few months.
Today, Netflix finally unveiled the first full-length trailer for Death Note online. Just over two minutes long, the trailer features the same basic story outline as the teaser did, while offering more focus on the characters in the film itself, including Margaret Qualley’s Mia Sutton and Lakeith Stanfield’s persistent police detective, L. The trailer also finally gives fan some better looks at Willem Dafoe’s Ryuk, who has quickly emerged as the most anticipated aspect of the film, even from those who are skeptical of the overall adaptation. Check out the trailer for yourself in the space above.
While the Death Note trailer itself features some stunning visual moments and the sequences involving Ryuk are already proving to be highlights, it’s doubtful that this new trailer will do much to quiet the controversy surrounding the movie still. The film’s director, Adam Wingard, has already defended the Americanized Death Note adaptation, though that may not help the film to be any less divisive with hardcore fans of the original anime/manga.
But to the movie and Wingard’s credit, this Death Note adaptation at least looks to feature an inspired visual look and style to it, though, that’s not necessarily much of a surprise for anyone familiar with Wingard’s previous work. The style of Death Note is less like last year’s Blair Witch and more similar to what he did with two of his previous films, the indie horror darlings You’re Next and The Guest. So now, all that remains to be seen is if Wingard can manage to find the same critical acclaim and success here as he did with those two films.
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