Fullmetal Alchemist – Live Action Film Review

Fullmetal Alchemist, or at least the manga/2009 adaptation, is among my all-time favorite anime series. With a compelling cast of characters, awesomely constructed plot, and spectacular visuals, it’s bound to have a special place in my heart. Though, when news of its live-action adaptation came out, I wasn’t really too excited about it largely because I’m not really huge on live-action anime adaptations in general, but I was at least hoping a bit that it could turn out to be a worthwhile experience.

After watching it, eh, well, not gonna lie, I thought it was pretty boring.

Image result for fullmetal alchemist live action
Warner Bros., 2018

Now, I don’t think it was terrible. The story was at least coherent, there were moments of brilliance in its visuals, the CGI work was mostly fine, and the ending theme was nice. Rather, it just fell short of having what made Fullmetal Alchemist so charming.

The thing is, FMA’s story is massive and intricate, and a standalone film can’t possibly hope to capture the level of intricacy that the original story had. Not like the film tried to cram everything either, but the film gives off the feeling that it’s trying to go through the motions of having a plot while forgetting to consider another thing that drew people to the series to begin with: its charming characters.

Image result for fullmetal alchemist live action
Warner Bros., 2018

Sadly, none of the characters in the film are even compelling nor charming. I don’t hope for them to be as compelling as the original, but I just can’t bring myself to care about any of them, so when the Nina-thing happened (eek), the only reaction I could muster up on it was “…‘kay. That happened.” In other words, the drama never sold me at any point.

I think there are two main culprits to this. First, the merely-serviceable acting. The jubilant characters (think Winry, Hughes, and Nina) get some of the better acting, but only when they’re jubilant. Everything else was only good at reacting, but unfortunately fell short of capturing their characters’ personality.

Second, the aimless plotting. It was coherent, sure, and its idea of an ending had a lot of potential, but the story simply lacked any sense of crafting a character arc nor a theme. Sure Edward decided not to use [spoilers] near the end, but what were the things, events, circumstances that allowed him to reach that conclusion? How did the prior events in his life cause him to reach that conclusion?

It would be great if someone have answers to this, because I honestly don’t know.

Warner Bros., 2018

So, I personally didn’t like the film, but again it wasn’t terrible and I do think there’s still an audience for this. Some elements of the anime and manga translated, they just didn’t translate well. If spectacle is what you seek, the action scenes actually did fine. I wished it had something more to it so I could care more about the film, but it didn’t, so all I feel is indifference.

Though more importantly, where is Black Hayate?!?!?!

He was in the poster

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Warner Bros., 2018