Many years ago I watched the English dub of an anime TV series called Fullmetal Alchemist and later I also watched the remake of the series called Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Last year while I was in Japan I saw a poster (pictured below) for a live-action movie based on Fullmetal Alchemist, and last month I saw it when it was released on Netflix. Today I thought I’d share my opinion on it.
The Fullmetal Alchemist movie is a decent adaptation of the anime (and the manga that the anime is based on) but it’s not going to win any awards. On the plus side I do have to give credit to the costume and makeup departments for making almost all actors look really close to their anime counterparts, and the special effects for the alchemy are generally good. I also appreciate that the film’s production house spent the money to shoot a lot of the scenes in Europe, seeing as how the fictional nation that Fullmetal Alchemist is set in has a very European appearance to it. The movie really does look the way you’d think a live-action version of Fullmetal Alchemist would. On the negative side the movie suffers from the same problem that a lot of film adaptations experience in that it’s trying to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time, and consequently some characters don’t get the screen time needed to properly develop them and a lot of events in the anime are skipped over. As for the acting, I’m hesitant to make a judgment call since it’s a Japanese film and the Japanese seem to do emoting a little different than we do in the West, but nothing stood out to me as overly cringe worthy. That said, there is a hilariously bad scene in the final third of the movie, but I can’t describe it without dropping major spoilers. Overall, I think your enjoyment of the film will likely depend heavily on whether or not you’re familiar with the source material, though I could see the movie maybe being a catalyst for some people checking out the anime and/or manga.