Earlier this week, Death Note director Adam Wingard shared new poster art, giving fans their first real look at Willem Dafoe's Ryuk the Shinigami. And now we get to see the first actual footage of Ryuk from the new trailer that Netflix released today. The poster artwork did a tremendous job of tying the live-action aspect of Ryuk with Takeshi Obata's original illustrations for the Manga Death Note series, and the first full trailer is taking it even further, adding the creepiness factor up ten notches.
The latest sneak peek at Netflix's Death Note sets up the story, giving us a glimpse at the characters. We've seen Light Turner in the teaser before, but this is our first real look at Willem Dafoe's portrayal of Ryuk the Shinigami and it's pretty terrifying to say the least. Ryuk is hidden in the shadows through much of the trailer. When Ryuk and Light first meet we hear Ryuk say "Shall we begin?" And then he adds a pretty spot on Goblin from Spider-Man laugh, which makes perfect sense, since Dafoe played the Green Goblin in 2002's Spider-Man.
Adam Wingard has spoken in the past about trying to take the anime series to a new place, based on reality, while making it "gritty and "lived in." The tangible things to be scared of tend to be the most terrifying to most of us, a sentiment that Danny McBride has shared while talking about his upcoming Halloween reboot. The new trailer does look very much like the real world, but with a darker feel shown in a lot of black and grey coloring. The reflection of police lights off of Ryuk's face is truly memorable, especially when paired with Dafoe's voice and sinister laugh. Hopefully we get to see Ryuk come out of the shadows for a bit in the rest of the movie.
Though there has been some controversy regarding the "white washing" of anime characters in Hollywood movies, Death Note producers are trying to frame it in a more positive light. Ghost in the Shell was also recently called out for "white washing," but it was also called out for just being plain bad as well. We'll have to wait and see if fans and critics except Wingard's vision of Death Note, but it already looks less cartoon-like than the big screen adaptations of the past and they've got a white dude playing a demon, which should be ok, right?
The two-minute long trailer does an impressive job of laying the foundation while not showing too much, which seems pretty rare for trailers today. Not only that, but the trailer does a great job of setting up Willem Dafoe's Ryuk the Shinigami, arguably the most looked forward to aspect of the entire movie. The dark visual style seems to fit in with the ideas that Adam Wingard has talked about recently, but we'll have to wait and see if it's truly his most "insane" movie yet. Death Note will officially begin streaming on August 25th, 2017 exclusively on Netflix. Check out the trailer below.