So, after Netflix’s Death Note movie I had my fair concerns about the live action adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist, but I was going to AnimeNYC and they were being host to the very first US screening of this movie. For only $10, I just had to. It’s releasing in Japan on December 1st and I can’t seem to find an official US release, so until then I hope you enjoy this non-spoiler review of the movie.
I have only watched Brotherhood but it stands as one of my all-time favorite animes. Seriously, it’s a staple among anime. The characters are amazing, the show has a great pace, and the heart that this show has is something really special. The plot is thick with minimal filler so adapting all 60+ episodes in one movie seemed near impossible…and I was right.
However, half way through the movie I realized something. This movie was not covering the entire series. If you use the Brotherhood series as a measurement it covers episodes 1-20. The director confirmed after the movie that this was not the full series, but was intended to be a stand alone movie with the potential for a trilogy. I love this choice.
Without spoiling anything I can say the pace was really good, but it was extremely packed with information. If you don’t know the series and you took a minute to go to the bathroom or look at your phone, good luck following the rest of the movie. This is not a casual movie, it demands your undivided attention. This may be intimadating, but on the flip side it makes every second count. And they really needed to do that.
The movie was very accurate to the source material, at least in my opinion. Some scenes are sightly different with the purpose of simplifying the plot. But don’t worry, it does not dumb it down, at least for what it was trying to cover. Overall the movie made several call-outs to the show almost scene for scene and quoted the show exactly. It made a fan like me very happy.
The casting is interested. The director said himself that they purposely chose to use a Japanese cast because they felt more comfortable delivering the emotional tones that are needed for the movie. Honestly it’s not worth fussing over, because if you overlook that I think you’ll find the casting is rather good. The only complaint I have is Winry. Normally I wouldn’t care that her hair color is different but they really focused on making all the cast look as close to the show as possible, and for some reason just didn’t do the same for Winry. She was also the only one that had me wondering if she was trying to act like an anime character or a normal person. I know it’s a hard thing to do, but the rest of the cast did a great job while her performance just fell flat. It’s probably my biggest disappointment in the movie to be honest.
And lastly the movie looked great. Alphonse was 100% CGI but I quickly forgot that while watching. The VFX across the board was fantastic, not perfect of course, but they had so much to animate it’s stunning what they did on a smaller budget. Outside that the movie did a great job of capturing the look and feel of the show in a live action format. There was a few shots that had me giggling because it just felt awkward or out of place. But that only happened about 3 times and were honestly very forgivable.
Honestly, I can’t think of a reason not to watch this movie. It was a very solid movie and had me fangirling the entire way. I can honestly say that this brings some hope to there actually being decent live action movies for anime. But only time will tell if this is a new trend or just the execption…