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Saturday, January 13, 2007

"Desu nôto 2"

I don't have much time to write about this, so here's a short review of "Desu nôto 2", or "Death Note: The Last Name". This is a sequel to "Desu nôto", or "Death Note". Based on a Japanese manga, it tells the story of a young man who needs only to write a name in a notebook, and the god of death will kill that person.

I didn't watch the first film, but was persuaded to watch this second one. Since it follows directly from the first, I had a hard time following the opening moments. The pieces fell together slowly through the film, but it took a clarification after the show to help me understand. The Death Note's power is so, well, powerful that it can corrupt even the bearer with the purest of intentions.

As was said in "Spider-Man", with great power comes great responsibility.

The sequel resolved the plot of the first film, but in typical Japanese fashion, it was done in a very convoluted manner. Needless to say, I didn't like it. I've watched Japanese films before -- and am a huge fan of anime -- but this film totally lost me. Other than the plot, there were also a lot of "talking heads" moments, i.e. people talking and talking and talking and talking...

As I read in a scriptwriting book, film is a visual medium, so instead of having characters explaining things verbally, make them perform the actions. Unfortunately, even the action sequences in the show were mild, sometimes looking even forced. So in this two-and-a-half-hour film, I found myself getting bored after the first half hour, and looking at my watch just before the two-hour mark.

The upside? There were two:
  1. It was quite amusing to hear Japanese dialogue spoken by real "live" people. I've usually heard it in anime (and other cartoons) only, so it was quite refreshing to hear the same tones and words in this "live action" movie.
  2. The characters' mannerisms, posture and even hair were obviously lifted directly from the manga. But that got stale very quickly.
After watching this, I doubt I'll watch the first "Death Note". It'd be too painful to me to sit through another two hours of this kind of film.

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