Thursday, January 1, 2009

L - Change the World (Hideo Nakata, 2008)

L - Change the World (2008), directed by Hideo Nakata.

I watched the first 40 minutes of this a few months ago, when the Hong Kong dvd had just been released. It was impossible for me to get any further than that, all I did was to wish for every character in the film to just die. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I didn't watch another film for a few weeks after having tried this one, it was that bad. L - Change the World made me more scared of going near a tv than Ring (Hideo Nakata, 1998) did, but a few days ago I mustered the courage to pop the disc in the player and finish it.

I actually kind of liked the first Death Note, it was silly but still had an entertaining story with the battle of wits between Light and L and there was always the shinigami, voiced by Shido Nakamura. The biggest drawback was the character of L, I don't care how close to the manga Kenichi Matsumoto played it, it was still one of the most annoying characters I've ever seen on screen. Death Note - The Last Name (Shusuke Kaneko, 2006) was a big step down from the first one but it was still almost endurable. So why did I even bother with a film named after and centered around a character that I can hardly stand? Well, I saw the first two so...

L - Change the World takes place after the two Death Note movies. L has 20-something days left to live after writing his name in the Death Note and burning it when he has to take care of a boy and a girl who together holds the key to the antidote to a deadly virus. They are also being chased by a scientist who wants to use the virus to "change the world" and her cohorts (the most uncharismatic villains I've seen in a film for a long time) is just in it for the money, wanting to sell the virus together with the antidote to the highest bidder. I think the story is one of the main flaws of the film. The character of L and his annoying mannerisms and the fact that some kid is the greatest crime fighter in the world worked better in the fantasy world of Death Note (Shusuke Kaneko, 2006) but, here in what is supposedly a real world, it is just too awkward to be taken seriously. The acting constantly bordering or crossing over into parody doesn't help either. What would have been needed for this to be somewhat entertaining is a new Light Yagami but no such luck.

This seems to be nothing but another cash in on the success of the Death Note films and to make a few more bucks off of the Matsuyama fans, but he alone cannot save this film. It could have been okay for an episode of a kids tv-show but as a film L - Change the World is a complete failure.