L: Change the World, directed by Hideo Nakata, is a spin-off film of the Death Note movie series. The series is based on the manga Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. However, this film follows an original storyline. The film was released in Japan on February 9, 2008, Hong Kong on February 7, 2008 and Singapore on February 21, 2008.
Ken'ichi Matsuyama reprises his role as L Lawliet from the previous Death Note films. The film chronicles the final 23 days of L's life, and follows L as he solves one final case. L is the protagonist of this film. L has to stop a bioterrorist group that aims to wipe out much of humanity. A virus with ten times the infectiousness of Ebola killed everyone except for one boy in a village in Thailand. L takes the survivor and a junior high school girl named Maki Nikaido under his wing.
Shunji Fujimura also reprises his role as Watari, but, dying in The Last Name, he is dead early in this film. Despite being depicted on the promotional poster, Misa Amane and the Death God Ryuk have brief cameos in the film, appearing on screen for less than thirty seconds each. A video still of Light Yagami is also used in the film. The Thai boy becomes the detective Near at the end of the movie.
The film was supposed to chronicle the events before L Lawliet met Kira, and was when Naomi and L worked together. Instead, the film will be about what happended after the Kira story and before L dies which is 23 days later.
Hideo Nakata told The Daily Yomiuri that he wanted to exhibit L's "human side" that was not exhibited in the Death Note series.
Up until March 5, 2008, there was total of 2,200,000 attendance (a total of approximately 250,000,000 yen) for this film. March 5 was also Ken'ichi Matsuyama's birthday, so he celebrated both his birthday and the hit of the film.
Despite there not being any English release, there has already been mixed reception from Japan. On Yahoo! Movies, the average User Review results have been 4 out of 5 stars with fans praising the acting, but criticizing the slow pace of the story.
Derek Elley of Variety described the film as "a lame spinoff" with many plot holes, absence of the mind games in the Death Note films, and a lack of suspense.
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