Okay, I’ll admit it, I screamed when I first saw that this movie was being made. Fullmetal Alchemist is one of those mangas (and subsequently animes) that outshines literally every single other one that exists. It is the only one I have ever really dedicated my time to in a manner that would permit me to know as much about the world as possible. I’ve watched a few others and liked them okay, but ultimately FMA is the only one that has ever stuck with me.
So, naturally, the moment it became available to watch on Netflix I dedicated an afternoon to it.
The live action Fullmetal Alchemist does a few things really well. The first (with the unfortunate exception of Edward Elric himself) is that the casting for these roles was absolutely magnificent. I cannot even begin to express how deeply in love I am with the casting for Maes Hughes specifically. They did wonderfully with Colonol Mustang, Hawkeye, Alphonse, Tucker, Lust, Envy, and Gluttony. I must admit, I didn’t really like Winry, but Edward by far was the most disappointing.
Ultimately, this Edward just didn’t match the true character of Edward Elric. I can’t tell you how annoyed I was with his rather paltry apology to Winry when she was angry with him over his automail. It just…wasn’t how Ed would have acted. And 99% of the acting followed that setup. Ed wasn’t himself. Plain and simple.
But I got past that. I expected differences, naturally. And the special effects were genuinely so phenomenal that I didn’t even care at the end of the day. I think the best parts about this film, and the coolest by far, were the special effects. Whoever was on that team did such an amazingly impressive job that I legitimately felt as though these pieces from the anime could actually be real. And that is a true and commendable achievement. If I were rating this movie on the effects alone, the movie would receive a solid nine.
Unfortunately, the plot was just…awful. I understand that they were fitting all of this information into a much more condensed time frame, but it just didn’t work. And maybe this is the fault of the story itself, for it simply wasn’t meant to be shortened. I’m not sure why the filmmakers didn’t decide to try and set up for a second movie, but chose to end it rather pathetically instead. Even the bit with Envy at the end doesn’t save the possibility for a sequel.
Frankly, they ruined everything with that plot.
I can’t get behind all the changes, the missing pieces, and the plot lines that they have completely removed. Where was Scar? Father? Why did they kill essential characters? Shao Tucker didn’t deserve the extended plot line he got. At the end of the day, you will have to judge for yourself. But I was disappointed.
As thrilled as I was to see all of these most beloved characters in live action, it didn’t change the fact that whoever wrote the screenplay butchered the entire story. And you can have all the cool special effects in the world, but they wont save your film if your screenplay is trash.
I still believe that this movie is worth watching, but truthfully it’s only worth it if you’re already a fan of the show. If not, you’re better off watching Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (not the original cause that one just doesnt live up, to be honest). And even as a fan already, you’re going to be a little disappointed.