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Taking the Train for Amestris| Fullmetal Alchemist Live-Action Movie, a Decent Ride

The new came out about a year ago, we were all, us anime fan ,scared by it, traumatized buy previous disaster, Fullmetal Alchemist, a beloved and highly acclaimed manga and anime series, would be adapted into a live-action movie. I have to say, I was one of those who was nervous about the final product, FMA was for a very long time my top favorite franchise, I was scared to see it being butchered, how could they take more than 30 hours worth of story into a film without messing up the story? How could they adapt 116 chapters into a movie? The producers were tackling a big task that could easily go wrong.

When the first trailer came out, I was a little bit more at ease, while I’m not familiar with Japanese actor, the actor casted for Ed seems decent despite his weird-looking hair and the visual effect seemed pretty good. What I saw from 1:44 minutes trailer made me curious enough to actually looking forward the movie. That is why I was really happy when it was announced some weeks ago Netflix will have the right and present it on its streaming platform, I would have the chance to watch it legally without having to wait for the DVD or the Blu-ray to be released.

Knowing myself, I tend to slip a lot of spoiler in my reviews, this is why I decide to write to review; a spoiler free one and one the way I would normally write it.

Short Spoiler Free Review

The movie take from the two anime series, the 2003 version and Brotherhood with some change in the order of event. Some character are missing BUT if they were added the movie would have been more heavy. It was a decent movie, in fact better than I expected, do I recommend it? Yes cause I personally think it’s a nice addition to the FMA franchise.

Long Review with a lot of Spoilersss , in fact I more telling you what is happening in the movie while adding my thoughts.

Even if I was quite curious about the final product, a part of me was still a little worried about how it will come out, this is probably why I try to watch the movie without taking in consideration what was made before. I can’t say I totally failed, since the only moment where I try to find the reference point was in the order of event and not how or what actually happened. I will compared the live-action to both series, but it’s only for you to see the difference between the Live-action and the anime series.

Everything As a Beginning

 

The movie opened on a sunny day in Resembol, before Trisha’s death. She is hanging clothing outside, Ed and Al are coming up to her running with the horses they created with the help of Alchemy and asking if their father would be proud of them. Trisha smile at them and reply of course, all happy the boy tell their mother they will go show their creation to Winry and run in direction of the young girl house, however they will never get to their friend’s house, their mother collapsed on the ground. The next scene is a rainy, gloomy day, it’s Trisha funeral, the boys are standing next to the grave Al is crying and Ed is squeezing the hand of his little brother holding back his tear.

The one thing I like about the opening scene it’s how Trisha was portrayed, we never fully see her face, it’s either only the bottom half or hiding behind her hair. While her mom did play an important role in the life of Ed and Al despite the fact she died when they were young, their journey to find the Philosopher Stone is not to bring her back to life, they know they can’t do that, the reason why they are looking for the mysterious stone is to, at least, bring Al body back. Therefore, not focusing on Trisha too much might not have been a bad thing. Other thing, the only moment Hohenheim is mentioned is in that opening scene after that he is not mentioned, there is no information given about him, not even his name. While Hohenheim play a big role in both anime series, the fact the viewer doesn’t know much about him, surround him from a veil of mystery. For that of course you need to notice that, which I realized only when I started writing the post.

Not long after the funeral come the infamous scene of the human transmutation, the whole moment where the boys are with Izumi is not even mentioned. Which bother me a little since this is where they actually really learn Alchemy, yes they have a lot of book (not gonna lie I’m jealous of the kids library) but no matter how intelligent they are, Izumi taught them a lot of stuff. I’m not saying they should have film the whole flooding scene, but having flashback from the time they were in Dublith learning about the “Equivalent Exchange” and the “All is One and One is All” would have been nice to shown. Instead, we see the boy reading the book of their home library, looking for the information they needed.

I think the transmutation scene was fairly well made, there was some weird take that look totally lame, but in general I enjoyed the scene.
Now time for an other complain, during the transmutation, Ed and Al house is being destroyed, like sucked into the transmutation portal, I know what I’m about to say might sound really nerdy but it’s still bothering me. Since the house was destroyed BEFORE Ed get his State Alchemist certificate, he didn’t had to came back to burn it, therefore there is probably no “Don’t Forget 3 Oct 11” written inside. For some it might not look important, but there is a lot of meaning behind that, this show the resolution of the boy to not look back and always go forward not matter what happen. I know, I’m only assuming here, since there is no info about it in the movie, but burning the house was symbolic and I think it would have been important to show that in the movie, end of the complain.

Despite missing some elements that I think would be important, the movie give us a decent introduction to background of the mains characters. Unlike the two anime series where the background story of Ed and Al is tell later in the season, the movie give us right away what happen with the boys.

Running Across Lior

We then have a little time skip which bring us to Reole (Lior/Liore) with a priest running in the street of the city. The priest is Cornello and he is running away from Ed. Of course the State Alchemist manage to catch up on him my running on the roof of the house of the city. Cornello tried to escape from Ed by using the fake philosopher and create pillars and some weird creatures to crush the shrimpy alchemist. The later almost had him, but a certain flamy colonel interfered and Cornello succeeded to get away.

I have to say I’m not totally mad to see Mustang appearing this early in the movie, my only problem come from the fact they make Liore and East City close to each other while in reality (let’s pretend this universe is real) it’s the opposite. Ed and Al had to go through the desert to get there. Putting this little inaccuracy aside (it’s not the 1st nor the last), Liore sequence was decently done. I like the special effects, the transmutation were really nice (if only they could have kept in that way, but the level of consistency regarding the visual effect wasn’t there). I enjoyed Ed attitude, the actor, Yamada Ryosuke, gave us that provocative attitude Ed can have even if it wasn’t quite enough to let me say they nailed Ed casting. I will not say Fujioka Dean was totally awesome, cause it wasn’t (to tell the truth there is only two actors I totally enjoyed the play) but he had that jerk side Roy have when he is interacting with Ed.

click to enlarge and see by yourself the distance between East City and Lior

 

 

 

 

 

Boarding for East City

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