By Michael Bertram
American directors and filmmakers adapting foreign shows and films is nothing new. It seems every few years, a foreign classic is remade for American audiences. The recent U.S. live-action adaptation of the classic Japanese anime and manga series “Death Note” has caused a lot of controversies lately. It wasn’t the acting or visual aspect that caused issues, it was the fact it seemed to miss the entire point of the original show entirely.
The original Japanese version followed the story of Light Yagami, a young brilliant high school student with a god complex who found a book known as “the Death Note” with the power to kill anyone whose name he wrote in it. He used the “Death Note” to force his own warped view on justice on Japan and the entire world.
However, the American remake whitewashed the actors, moved the story to America, and lost the entire purpose of the original film. Light Yagami was turned to Light Turner, a teenager who simply was looking to impress a girl he liked and used the “Death Note” to do so. The director of the remake even admitted that he has never seen or read the original series.
This isn’t to say this was the first time a U.S. adaptation of foreign entertainment has gone poorly. There have been countless amounts of films and T.V. shows that have taken a foreign film, American-ized the cast, and completely lost sight of what made the original great.
For every adaptation done well such as “The Office”, it seems there are three times as many horrible adaptations such as “Skins” or “Ghost in The Shell”.
It seems every poorly made adaptation suffers from the exact same issues. For one, they try to make what the original film or show was about and attempt to make it more pleasing for American audiences. An example of this was “Skins”, a controversial British show known for exploring topics such as family dysfunction, mental health, and social class.
However, when MTV attempted to remake the show, it seemed to lack all of these and focused on cliché teenage issues countless other dramas also focused on.
Another issue many adaptations suffer from is the Americanization of the cast that often takes place. Nearly every Japanese anime or film that has been adapted in the U.S. change the race and name of every character as well as change the setting because they feel it will make it more appealing to Americans. However, some of these original films and series already have followings in the United States and would be appealing without these changes. Many fans actually end up being turned off to the adaptation based on these changes.
This isn’t to say every adaptation of a foreign film or show is a disappointment. There are several examples of directors doing these very well and occasionally even creating something better than the original. But often times, these adaptations are missing the entire point of the original.
There doesn’t seem to be any sign of the amount of U.S. remakes slowing down, but hopefully, the directors are able to keep the original feel and expose American audiences to the brilliance of the original
foreign films and shows.
The songs are pretty amazing and has a great swell and gives the entire movie a sense of grandeur and intensity. It’s strange because it seems like the entire soundtrack to the movie is just one song, and even then just the one part of that song.
They play the same swelling note at least three times yet it never feels repetitive. All of these things put together make a fantastic movie that is equal parts fun to enjoy and fun to laugh at.