Movie Review: Fullmetal Alchemist

Hey guys! If you follow the Kat's Anime Corner Facebook page at all, you've seen me posting about the Fullmetal Alchemist Live Action Movie. I know I've talked about Fullmetal before but recently released on Netflix (02/19/2018) was the movie. I really love Fullmetal Alchemist, so revisiting the world of the Elric Brothers is amazing. When I found out the movie was on Netflix, I had to watch it. Like the Attack on Titan Live Action, I'm not 100% sure if I like it yet. I'll have to watch it a couple times to know for sure. I like it! Wanna know how much? Keep reading. (Obviously my opinion changed part way through writing this review).

Anyway, let's start this review!

About the Film: Fullmetal Alchemist

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Released: December 1st, 2017 in Japan
Directed by: Fumihiko Sori
Produced by: Yumihiko Yoshihara
Written by: Hiromu Arakawa
Screenplay by: Fumihiko Sori & Takeshi Miyamoto
Story by: Hiromu Arakawa
Based on: Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa
Music by: Reiji Kitasato
Production Companies: Oxybot Inc & Square Enix
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Production
Total Run Time: 135 minutes
Rated: TV-14 (Netflix)

Story

At a little under 2.5 hours long, you obviously cannot fit two anime series and twenty-seven volumes of manga into one movie. Because of this, you should realize that the story does not run the way it does in the anime or manga. However, because Hiromu Arakawa wrote this movie, it still feels like Fullmetal. Word of caution though, if you've not had the chance to read or watch the source material, you might be a bit confused. My dad who has seen parts of both anime series and parts of the anime movie Conqueror of Shamballa watched the trailer and said he wants to watch the movie despite it being in Japanese (I'll let you know later after he watches it). Let's actually talk about the plot itself.

Netflix Summary: "While alchemist Edward Elric searches for a way to restore his brother Al's body, the military government and mysterious monsters are watching closely."

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One vast difference to note is the larger role Winry plays. Yes she plays a huge role in the original series but in the movie she plays an active role in searching for the Philosopher's Stone. The movie also flirts with the idea that Ed and Winry love each other but never addresses it. Another noticeable difference is the larger role Shou Tucker plays. Unlike the manga and Brotherhood where Tucker dies for the cruel thing he did to Nina and Alexander, he plays the role of an antagonist like he did in the original anime series...though he gets to keep his human form in this movie. You may also notice the absence of key characters like Scar, King Bradley, Izumi, Hohenheim, most of Mustang's team, the Xing residents, Elicia, Alex Louis Armstrong, etc. As well as changes to the plot like the fact that the fifth lab is actually the third lab (though the third lab does play a large role in the original series). We'll talk more soon about the characters and actors in the movie.

Essentially the movie follows the basic story of Fullmetal. Ed and AL suddenly lose their mother and try to bring her back via human transmutation. Ed joins the military as a State Alchemist so he can search for the Philosopher's Stone. Obviously (like I said before) this is only a little under 2.5 hours and they can't fit everything into that small time. At times it can feel rushed and confusing but, as far as adaptations go, this movie isn't bad. The story leaves room for a potential sequel and gives us a new spin on certain aspects of the original story.

Lust, Envy, and Gluttony are the main antagonists. General Hakuro is the other antagonist (his animated version didn't have an important of a role in the Brotherhood series but you should remember him from the original series). A couple of other strange things to know are that Ed gets arrested A LOT and Mustang doesn't seem to support Ed's search for the stone.

It is easy to see the efforts of trying to bring together multiple aspects of the beloved series and I think if they play it right could have a serious series on their hands. Lust mentions multiple times that Ed is the perfect "sacrifice" which alludes to the promised day plot. While Bradley isn't actually in the movie, it'd be cool to see him brought to life in all his bad-ass, sword-wielding, homunculus glory. It would be awesome to head to Central and meet characters like Major Alex Louis Armstrong and those are just a few things. Let's see if they do decide to make a second movie.

Casting Characters

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Edward Elric - Ryosuke Yamada
Alphonse Elric (voice) - Atomu Mizuishi
Winry Rockbell - Tsubasa Honda
Roy Mustang - Dean Fujioka
*NOTE: Dean plays the character Dean in the Taiwanese drama Just You which stars Puff and my precious angel Aaron Yan*
Riza Hawkeye - Misako Renbutsu
Envy - Kanata Hongo
Tim Marcoh - Jun Kunimura
Father Cornello - Kenjiro Ishimaru
Maes Hughes - Ryuta Sato
Gracia Hughes - Natsuki Harada
Gluttony - Shinji Uchiyama
Maria Ross - Natsuna Watanabe 
Shou Tucker - Yo Oizumi
General Hakuro - Fumiyo Kohinata
Lust - Yasuko Matsuyuki

I think they did good casting these actors. A lot of people will hate on Ed and Riza for their hair but I think as far as their hair goes...it doesn't look bad like people were imagining. Especially if the actors actually dyed their hair and the only fake hair used would be extensions. I've seen pictures of Ryosuke Yamada with blonde hair so it isn't that hard to believe he would dye his hair for the role. The only complaint I have is that Winry has brown hair. Otherwise, they did really good. What are your thoughts on the casting? Love it? Hate it? 

The Music of Fullmetal

As you know by now, music is a big thing for me. So let's compare the music of the movie with the music of both anime series. 

The 2003 anime's score was composed by Michiru Oshima and was a classic more ethereal sound that encapsulated the fantasy world created in the series. In 2009, the anime's score was composed by Akira Senju who took a more epic and dramatic sound to bring out the full feel of the newly animated series. Then we arrive in 2017 where the movie's score was composed by Reiji Kitasato who took a different turn and added a mix of Celtic-like sounds and horror to bring about a suspense feel because you need to be on the edge of your seat. 

As far as theme music goes, obviously the one theme song of the movie doesn't stand a chance up against the vast amount for both anime, but just to give you an idea of what style of music fits each series, we'll cover those as well. 

2003 Themes

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- OP 1: "Melissa" by Porno Graffiti
- ED 1: "Kesenai Tsumi" by Nana Kitade
- OP 2: "Ready Steady Go" by L'Arc~en~Ciel
- ED 2: "Tobira no Mukou He" by YeLLOW Generation
- OP 3: "UNDO" by COOL JOKE
- ED 3: "Motherland" by Crystal Kay
- OP 4: "Rewrite" by Asian Kung-Fu Generation
- ED 4: "I Will" by Sowelu

2009 Themes

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- OP 1: "again" by Yui
- ED 1: "Uso" by Sid
- OP 2: "Hologram" by NICO Touches the Wall
- ED 2: "LET IT OUT" by Miho Fukuhara
- OP 3: "Golden Time Lover" by Sukima Switch
- ED 3: "Tsunaida Te" by Lil'B
- OP 4: "Period" by CHEMISTRY
- ED 4: "Shunkan Sentimental" by SCANDAL
- OP 5: "Rain" by Sid
- ED 5: "RAY OF LIGHT" by Shoko Nakagawa

2017 Theme
- "Kimi no Soba ni Iru you (I'll be There)" by Misia

You can very obviously feel how each score and themes vary but you can also feel how they are similar. Each score elicits the feel of their respective pieces because each of them are different from one another. I appreciate the efforts of all the composers and musical directors and applaud them for helping to further create the world of Fullmetal Alchemist. 

A Look at the Reviews of Others

With all my reviews I look at other reviews (including fan feedback). However, I rarely talk about them because I either do not agree with the reviewer or I just don't feel like it will enhance my review. This time I did find a few reviews I think you should also check out! While they don't follow my thoughts 100% I can stand behind these reviews and say they are pretty open-minded. Note: Remember these are only recommended reads and not my opinion. 

1st Review

by Kaila Hale-Stern from www.themarysue.com

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She gave the film 3.5 out of 5 metallic brothers

2nd Review

by Cecilia D'Anastasio from www.kotaku.com

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She is a anime fan and a fan of FMA in particular and you can feel that reading her review. 

3rd Review

by Scott Beggs from www.nerdist.com

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His review is a bit more critiquing on the execution of the movie and he gives it a 2.5 equivalently exchanged burritos out of 5, there are several points he makes that I think are worth reading. 

What was your favorite review you read? Not listed here? Let me know and I'll check it out. I didn't have enough time to read EVERY review out there, but I checked out the ones that seemed relevant to me. 

Final Thoughts

Overall, I like it. In terms of Live Action, it translated better than other anime (I'm looking at you Netflix's Death Note and you Dragon Ball...). I have always though that Fullmetal Alchemist would make a good Live Action and I think if they had an even larger monetary scale to work with they could achieve greater results. Yes, as a die-hard fan it is sad to see missing elements that make the original series perfect, however, that does not retract from the beautiful world created in this movie. With scenery shot in Italy (I don't think I've ever said this but Italy is my dream vacation spot) and cool CGI effects, you feel like the world of Amestris has come to life. I also would recommend you watch it more than once because it makes a little more sense each time you watch it (you catch little nuances that you didn't notice before) multiple times. Plus I think that Ed and Roy get cuter with each viewing (I already liked Dean - who plays Roy - before even seeing this movie). So essentially I'd give it a 3.5 out of 5. If it gets a sequel, I'll give it a 4 out of 5. 

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Have you watched Fullmetal Alchemist on Netflix yet? Let me know your thoughts if you have or when you do. Like what you read? Subscribe to get notifications every time KAC posts so you don't miss a thing. 

Until next time! 

Ja ne! 

xx Kat
=^.^=

Update 03/07/2018

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