Fullmetal Alchemist Fans Can Enjoy Another Adaptation
Fans of the popular manga and anime Fullmetal Alchemist had mixed feelings about a live-action movie. Skepticism was definitely warranted. Anime has not had a great track record for converting well to live-action films or shows. And Fullmetal Alchemist is particularly difficult.
This was a difficult movie to cast. I was surprised that they used all Japanese actors when the characters have European names and Amestris is meant to reflect Europe. That being said, I thought most of the actors did a really fantastic job! Ryosuke Yamada was on point as Edward Elric, showing his range as an actor and Edward’s range as a character. Ryuta Sato was a fantastic Maes Hughes, although we didn’t get to see him fangirl over his wife and daughter as much in the movie. He played a more serious Hughes, but he still made fun of Roy a lot, so I was okay with that.
Yo Oizumi was perfectly creepy in the role of Shou Tucker. Dean Fujioka was a little off for me as Roy Mustang. He was serious and stern, but Roy is also passionate and caring. Fujioka was certainly good-looking enough, but I don’t think he really captured Roy’s personality. Tsubasa Honda was a great Winry Rockbell. She was the perfect balance of bitchy and compassionate. It was almost identical to Winry in the show.
One more I want to say did an especially great job was Yasuko Matsuyuki, who played Lust. Matsuyuki slayed as Lust. She was terrifying while maintaining that odd seductiveness of the character. She wasn’t overly sexy, though, which I always worry about with this character. But she was really great, and I enjoyed her performance throughout. Really, I thought everyone did great with the script that they had.
Plot was my biggest concern when I heard about the movie. How on earth could they condense this incredibly complex story into roughly a two-hour film? It turns out, it doesn’t translate well. It is way too intricate a story to put into just a couple hours. They had to cut so much that made the anime(s) so great. For example, one of my all-time favorite characters, Alex Luis Armstrong, was not featured in the movie. How could they do my boy like that?!
Also, the villains that made the show great were replaced by worse characters, Shou Tucker and General Hakuro. The homunculi were of course villains, but the movie did not include Scar, Father, Fuhrer Bradley, or Dante (if you’re a fan of the 2003 anime). I really didn’t understand the decision behind this. Tucker and Hakuro are not fan-favorites, even as villains, so why take that route? Sure, Tucker is ultra-evil, he used his daughter as a lab experiment, but Hakuro was not that bad in the show. He was ambitious, but he is not nearly as compelling as the great villains from the anime listed above. Scar would have been great to put in the movie since he starts off as a villain and then becomes a hero in his own way.
Some of the best parts were left out, too, including the history of the Ishvalan Civil War (it was referenced, but never really addressed), and the overwhelming corruption within the military to create the Philosopher’s Stone. The big fight takes place at Lab 5 instead of beneath Central and ends rather anticlimactically. The story was just not the same without more of the central characters and gripping plot elements that added so much depth to the show.
The one thing this movie did absolutely superbly was the special effects. Everything looked fantastic. Transmutations looked amazing, just like what we see in the anime. Alphonse Elric’s armor was – for lack of a better word – badass. It was precise and clean and looked so real. The same is true of Ed’s automail. It was identical to what we see in the anime down to the last screw, only it looked like real metal.
I was blown away by how good this movie looked. From the saturated greens of the rolling hills of Resembool to the grainy sand of the desert of Liore (called Reole in the movie) were impressive to see on the screen. The costumes were accurate and still looked cool. Aesthetically, they nailed it. The colors were also rich and bright, really making Amestris come to life. I would watch this movie with no sound because it was so beautiful to look at.
I recommend this movie to any fans of the anime, but you have to go into with an open mind and appreciate the differences it has from the show we know and love. I actually enjoyed this movie and would watch it again. It is available now on Netflix. Besides, who doesn’t love more Fullmetal Alchemist? And, judging by the cliffhanger ending, we could be getting another one!
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