No matter how many times you write down "Netflix" in your fan-made Death Note, Adam Wingard's Americanized remake of the popular Japanese anime just isn't going away.
And neither is the controversy and criticism surrounding the film, which currently holds a 41% "rotten" score on Rotten Tomatoes. The latest stir up comes from the film's director, horror up-and-comer Adam Wingard, who recently deleted his Twitter account after writing a string of insulting tweets that caught the ire of anime fans.
Ever since the project's announcement in 2015, Wingard and #Netflix have been taking a beating by the Death Note faithfuls, many of whom took issue with the apparent white washing of an iconic Japanese franchise.
When the film was released and fans saw how Netflix transformed Light Yagami, the sociopathic mastermind with a god-complex, into Light Turner, an idiotic screamer who uses the #DeathNote to pick up girls, they were vocal with their dissatisfaction. Many took to twitter to send their criticisms and complaints directly to the man at the helm of the project, 34-year-old Adam Wingard.
In a now-deleted tweet, Wingard fired back at those critiquing his work, calling fans "trolls" and insisting he "wins" – whatever that might imply.
The director then went on to add:
Additional tweets berating and insulting fans continued, including quotes like "Film criticism is different than bitching at filmmakers on twitter," and a rather petty jab at a Twitter user with a low follower count, which read, "Are you talking to me or all 23 of your followers?"
In fairness, Wingard has a point about valid film criticism versus writing profanities and death threats to creators. There's no doubt that Wingard and Netflix have received cheap shots from fans not willing to give the project a chance. The problem here is that Wingard can't seem to differentiate valid constructive criticism from 'bitching' and 'trolling.' Instead, he blindly dismisses and invalidates any opinions that don't favor his work.
It's one thing to stand by your artistic project, but another to refuse to acknowledge any criticism. To belittle those who hold the source material precious is particularly arrogant for a remake director. One would imagine that someone who lead an adaptation that embraced drastic change from its source material would understand the importance of differing opinions and perspectives.
Of course, Wingard's tweets brought about even more backlash, causing him to completely delete his Twitter account. All of his tweets about the film and its fans are unavailable, save for screenshots and archived quotes collected by reddit and 4Chan users.
There's a conversation to be had about fans bullying artists into submission and the way social media has altered creativity. At the same time, there's an expectation that any creator adapting a beloved series should expect at least some form of feedback from the original audience, and that the creator should respect both the intellectual property and its fans.
Still, some people have apparently been enjoying the Netflix version of Death Note. One of the series' original creators, Tsugumi Ohba, is even a fan, going on the record as saying, "It was more interesting than I expected. Every bit of it is high quality and very fashionable...I think a wide range of people can enjoy this movie."
There's a lot of animosity surrounding the film, but let's not forget at the end of the day, this is just a 90-minute movie that people are sending insults and death threats over. Whether you're Adam Wingard or a disheartened fan, it wouldn't hurt to be nicer to each other. It's like Ryuk says, "humans are so interesting!"
Where do you weigh in? Is Wingard being blindsided by his pride? Are fans being too cruel? Comment below!