Director Fumihiko Sori may have shown the world how an anime-adaptation onto the silver screen is actually done, easily joining the ranks of Keishi Ōtomo's Rurouni Kenshin live-action movies. Where they outright failed with Dragon Ball Evolution, and I'm sorry I even had to mention that movie, and managed to get an A for effort with Ghost in the Shell, Fullmetal Alchemist managed to capture the spirit of the source material, and used every minute of their allotted runtime to tell an amazing story of science, humanity, and the bonds of brotherhood.
The world is beautifully crafted, the rules of alchemy are explained well enough, as are some of the terms fans know. However, given their runtime and the breadth of material that needs to be expressed to the audience, newcomers may leave the theater with more questions than answers. It's a beautiful show to watch, but this movie is made for the fans first and foremost.
(We're going to be crying if there's a sequel, aren't we?)
The cast delivers on the spirit of their characters. Sori’s casting choices are perfect, despite his own reservations about casting Japanese actors and actresses to act out a story set in Europe. Ryôsuke Yamada, who portrays Edward Elric, is perfect parts hot-headed, emotional and self-depreciating. Yamada’s acting does well smoothing out the contractions in Edward’s character, in part because he leans into Edward’s intensity. Dean Fujioka, who plays the morally ambiguous general Roy Mustang, Ryûta Satô, who plays the beloved and mirthful officer Maes Hughes, and Yasuko Matsuyuki, who plays the sociopathic monster Lust are amazing and almost tailor-made for their parts. It is noted by viewers how well the actors summoned their anime counterparts’ spirit without, for the most part, compromising nuance or distracting with over-acting.
The special effects are also top-notch. Alphonse still moves with speed one would not expect of a walking suit of medieval armor. Like in the anime, Alphonse is portrayed as more human than anything. Indeed, Roy Mustang's fire alchemy lights up the screen, and the homunculi are still terrifying. It's noted that there a brief times when the special effects dip, but these are far and few between and do not detract from the overall experience.
Given how much needed to be in the movie to make it happen, and the overall runtime allowed to a movie, there were parts that were not added to the film that may annoy longtime fans, such as proper explanations to what Centeral is and what the homunculi are, the history of the Ishval Civil War, and most notably of all, Major Armstrong does not make an appearance. Despite all that, the Fullmetal Alchemist movie will still charm the fans of Hiromu Arakawa's legendary work.
Fans going to see the movie in Japan on Dec. 1 are in luck, as the first round of special bonus gifts will include the first all new story by original author Arakawa Hiromu in seven years! Titled Fullmetal Alchemist: 0, the new chapter will act as a direct prequel to the movie chronicling Ed’s qualification for the title and rank of a State Alchemist. It will be distributed from the movie's premiere date of Dec. 1 until Dec. 23 while stocks last. The bonus gift will then change to a 2018 poster calendar featuring the movie’s key visual on the cover.
Are you going to see the live-action adaptation of this epic series? Tell us in the comments below.