Did you know that there have been more Jimi Hendrix albums
released since the musician's death than were released when he was
alive? That's because when his short life
he still had legions of fans, so practically every demo tape, recorded
and jam session that happened to get preserved was released, not
were recently discovered masterpieces, but because the record would
I started thinking about Jimi about 15 minutes into Death
Note: Re-Light, Vol. 1 - Visions of a God.
Death Note was a
fantastic anime series (which started out as a manga
and was also turned into a pair of live action films) that had a
middle, and end. It was very good, and
very successful. But what do you do when
you have a popular series that has finished?
Come up with some thing new to release, no matter how lame. That's what this disc is, a poor man's
version of the acclaimed series. It's
basically a spruced up clip show, telling the story of Light Yagami
from the beginning,
but this time from another character's point of view.
The problems are that it crams a whole
season's worth of events into a little over 2 hours, which means A LOT
out, and two it's a story fans are already familiar with.
In case you haven't seen it, Death Note is the story of
Light Yagami. He is a brilliant high
school student who is at the top of his class and on the practice
entrance exams he routinely places first in the nation.
One afternoon while staring out the window,
he sees a notebook fall from the sky.
After class he picks it up and finds some odd instructions on
front cover, instructions that tell him how to kill people by simply
their name down while picturing their face.
A few days after getting the Death Note, Light is in his
room when a shinigami, (a Japanese demon,) named Ryuk appears. Ryuk was the previous owner of the Death Note
and dropped it in the human world on purpose because he was bored. He wanted to see what would happen and is
surprised by the results: Light has
filled up pages and pages with names.
The young man has decided that he'll craft the perfect world,
without crime. To do that all he needs
to do is let people come to the realization that all criminals will end
dying. After all, who would rob a gas
station if they knew they'd end up dead in a day or two.
With criminals in prison all over the world dropping dead of
heart attacks everyday it's not long before the governing bodies, and
public who dub the mysterious killer "Kira", start to take
notice. Obviously outside of their
league, the multi-national taskforce that's investigating these crimes
let the mysterious figure "L" takes over the investigation. L communicates only through a laptop computer,
and no one knows his real name or what he looks like.
With a razor sharp intellect, L soon starts
to track Light down.
The problem is that this disc would be hard to follow if you
didn't know the story already. It zips
from confrontation to confrontation only covering the highlights of the
series. It's hard to get to know any of
the supporting characters; they're in this movie so briefly. What's even worse is that the whole
cat-and-mouse aspect of the first season, the battle of wits between L
Light is lost. They cut out most of the
parts where Light (and the viewers) struggle to find an answer to the
problem he has to overcome. In this
move, like a clip show, the problem is presents and that's followed by
solution. (They skipped the difficulties
Light faced when he discovered an FBI agent following him for example. It jumps from Ryuk telling him that he's
being followed to Light employing the solution he finally arrives at. All of the struggle in between is cut out.
There are some new sections in this movie, but only a
few. The show starts off with a framing
device, another shinigami bribes Ryuk to tell him what happened the
he was on Earth, and from there the story unfolds as it did in the
series. The new bits, clips of extra
dialog and a new
scene here and there, don't really add that much to the story though. The
biggest of these new sections occurs at the end. There
is a montage of scenes that take place
between seasons one and two, and some exposision by Light that makes
him seem a
bit more psychotic than he did in the series, but that's about it.
This disc comes with both the original Japanese audio track
as well as an English dub, both in stereo.
I alternated language tracks with every episode and found them
equally good. The English voice actors
do a good job and don't ham it up as sometimes happens.
Given the nature of the show, mainly dialog
based without any big action sequences, the mix is adequate. There's some use made of the front sound
stage, but not a lot. The voices are
mostly anchored on the screen, but that's not really a problem. A solid sounding show. One
thing I did notice is that there isn't an
option for translations of the signs only.
This was a pain when watching the dubbed version since there are
and such that move the plot forward that are never read aloud.
The 1.78:1 anamorphically enhanced image looks very
good. A lot of the story takes place in
Light's dark room, and the image is intentionally a little soft, but
serves to enhance the mood of the story.
The colors in the daylight scenes are bright and solid, and the
range of grey tones are well defined.
There isn't much in the way of aliasing or banding, making this
nice looking show.
In addition to three Japanese TV promos and some Shonen Jump
ads, there's one featurette. Death Note
Rewritten with the Japanese Cast & Crew is a little over 10 minutes
interviews with the cast and crew. They
mainly talk about what it's like to revisit these characters a year or
they finished the TV series. There wasn't
much new in that either.
I loved the series Death
Note, but this movie feels like it's just trying to cash in on the
popularity. Playing like a glorified
clip show, this movie doesn't add anything to the Death
Note story, nor does it retell the tale in a satisfying
manner. People who have never seen the
TV show will be lost and confused, and even if they aren't they'll miss
tension of the show. Fans that have
already seen the series aren't offered anything new.
It's too bad because I was hoping this would
flesh out the Death Note world but
it doesn't. Skip it.