There's a problem you run into when becoming a published author, that I hadn't anticipated. Me, always an avid reader, has found it really hard to read as many books as I used it. It's not just about the time investment or the work to find stories I'm interested in with all the novels out there - it's the intimate knowledge of the process of getting published. I know all the work that goes into getting out there and all the blood, sweat and tears that come from those before they hit this point and all those who haven't made it yet.
So when crap comes across my plate, it tastes even worse then I could imagine.
Beyond all the issues with whitewashing and the watering down of the story - which trust me, I could write pages about. But both of those have been tackled in several other reviews, so I'm going to aim a little differently.
See, along with the being able to taste the infinite details of the crap set before me, I also find myself graspoing at plot threads that could have worked. In some cases this makes me like certain movies that others might have hated. With the Netflix Death Note there is a specific thread that my creative side latched onto. In other words, lets talk Mia Sutton.
In the movie, Mia Sutton initially reaks of 'edgier then you Bella Swan.' However, as the movie goes on, she's obsessed with finally having power on her own terms that isn't filted through a stereotypical glass. (AKA: To be a popular girl, one must be a cheerleader. To be noticed in high school, one must fit in a specific archetype. But to be a god, she can kill whoever she wants.) Mia becomes more 'Kira' then this protrayl of Light ever is, and she also becomes a villian in the film. There in lies the thread of a plot that would be interesting. Give her a different Death God/Shinigami and have this girl be smart enough to not make herself the figure head and instead manipulate a fuckboy into killing for her and keeping her hands clean.
That, right there, is the makings of plot gold and a story that we don't often see told. Yes, she is a female caught in a storyline about sex, as many women are, but this is sex on her own terms and used as a weapon. In a world where the sultry badgirl is so common, why not take the moment to flesh her out and give her a little more then expected. You can have a smart woman and then write a really engaging story about her downfall. That is a story I would devour that and happily hunt down surrounding media for like fanart and fanfic.
Sadly the Netflix version of Death Note doesn't hold up to this premise which it offers. It chooses to focus squarely on Light, and while he has some doubts about Mia, they're easily passed off in the lackluster finale in a very YA fashion. Instead of a showdown like they deserved, Mia makes her last fatal move and unceremoniously dies in a bed of flowers, along with any dream that she might have been a more interesting character. I wish they'd delved a bit more into her story, give us a reason why she likes to kill so much and why she feels she needs this power, heck, show her planning and plotting more with Ryuk, because I'm sure he's intelligent enough to leave her clues... after all others can see his eaten apples.
If you take anything away from this movie, whether you watch it or not, I hope you look at your own works and take a step back. If, at any point, any of your characters can be replaced by a 2 dimensional cardboard cutout then you have not done your job as a writer and story crafter. It is up to you as a creator to show us all sides of a character you create - not to hand us an archetype and expect us to fill in the details. We, the audience, came to watch your movie... not play MadLibs with the plot points from the last handful of things we've watched.
I think, to a degree, a lot of movies of late are getting sloppy. Well written character moments are traded in for flashy montages and chase scene climaxes that are a dime a dozen. Be bold, take a chance. Flesh out a character for the audience and give us a reason to love and/or hate them. Let us see their path and convince us with your writing that this is the path they chose, where ever it may lead. Because therein lies the stories we want to read and see. Therein lies the best kind of storytelling.