Let's state the obvious... Simplifying a narrative originally told over 12 manga and 37 episodes into a 1 hour and 40 minute film is never a good idea. Gone are the suspenseful cat & mouse games between Light & L, and all the character attachment/development that made the stakes so high in the series. I sort of figured the final product would suffer from these issues, but I still went in hoping to have a good time. Instead of bitching about why or what could of been, I'm always open minded and excited for anything new involving characters or universes I love.
Adam Wingard's version of 'Death Note' makes best of its short runtime by primarily focusing on Light and Mia's relationship. - with some gory and fun 'Final Destination' type kills thrown in for good measure. It was a smart move to focus on the relationship, and worked well for the teen melodrama aspect; it was like a hot topic version of Bonnie & Clyde. The movie is so goddamn stylish. More than it has any right to be. If you were a fan of Wingard's film 'The Guest' you will be pleased to see his style of cinematography return.
We've seen some interesting big budget American releases of coveted Japanese franchises this year... first 'Ghost in the Shell', and now 'Death Note'... I feel pretty much the same about both films. They don't really do anything sacrilegious or infuriating to the source material, and despite some flaws, they are pretty damn fun.