I highly recommend watching Death Note in its original anime form (preferably in Japanese with English subtitles). It's excellent. A little culture never hurt anyone. Every story doesn't have to take place in the U.S.
The manga is outstanding because of the plot, but nothing beats the anime.
Edgar Alan Poe's tales translated by Baudelaire are said to be one of such cases.
Getting over that I can see how a looser translation could work. But don't call it Death Note. Calling it Death Note while whitewashing it and getting rid of many of the major plot characters and plot elements entirely is just asking for a colossal failure and fanbase revolt. It's like they didn't pay attention to the DBZ and Airbender fiascos.
The people who read the original manga probably feel a certain way about the anime. The same way that people who read books feel about movie adaptions because they know there will be differences in it. A movie can bring things to a wider audience and then a lot of them may check out the original, which they may or may nor prefer.
Because it spoils the 'reputation' of the original work? If the movie is done crappyly, then people will assume that the anime/manga will also be crappy.
>I'll also never understand the fascination with subtitles and the Japanese voice, which anime fans seem to think is more dramatic.
It's not that anime watchers hate english dubs. It's just that they hate crappy dubs. I watch a ton of anime and I usually prefer japanese with english subtitles, but sometimes the english dubs are better than the original and in that time, I'll stick with the english dub.
It's just a matter of which version has better quality voice actors and dialogues.
The rationalization most moviegoers would use is one of legitimacy. Many people see film as the only "serious" medium for storytelling (live action TV is too cheap, books are too academic) and categorically dismiss newer media (video games, comics, etc.) as having no cultural value whatsoever. Thus, a good story is not actually good until it's a movie.
Hollywood loves this attitude and may be entirely to blame for it. It's hard to tell how many studio execs actually think this way though. I get the impression there are also a lot of people in Hollywood who don't believe in the concept of art.
* goes back to waiting for more of Rebuild *
Edit: Huh, if the last thing in a comment is an asterisk it becomes invisible.
the Wachowski bros also directed Speed Racer (2008). it's one of my favorite movies and was 1,000,000x more awesome than it got credit for