What the hell did I just watch?
I write this as soon as possible after returning from a screening at an indie movie theater in my hometown. Some of my friends went together to watch it since we were all fans of Full Metal Alchemist to some degree. It’s quite rare to see an anime in a theater, especially one with a name with such prominence as “Full Metal Alchemist,” so naturally we were excited to see our favorite characters on the big screen.
Instead, what we got was a story more pretentious than Evangelion, more Aesopic than My Little Pony, and more cliché and cheesy than Star Wars Episode III. The story is simple. There is a nation of people who have never been mentioned before in FMA lore who are on the border between Cyrodiil and Skyrim two warring civilizations (can’t even recall their names now, that’s not important) who want to control it for a reason not revealed until the third act of the movie. Our two main characters were brother and sister who were separated after they escaped from an evil plot to kill their parents and steal their life’s work. This life’s work turns out to have the power to control the mythical “magma,” and with that power control the world. And so after the brother breaks out of prison where he was hiding for nearly five years he rescues his sister, with whom he wants to start a new life after being separated for so long. But the sister was taken in by the Palestinian Liberation Organization the people in the valley between the two civilizations, and wants to join in their cause for creating an independent state of Milos. There are several nonsensical plot twists that come out of nowhere and there are two battles likened to duels of force lightning, a maniacal desire for a new world order, and ridiculously obvious symbolism that would make the Evangelion writers cringe. Oh, and the Elric Brothers are somewhere in the story. Wait what?
To be serious, the story is a mess. It consists of some funny moments, followed by Aesopic one-liners that sound like a philosophy student hitting the random button on Wikiquote. There were plotholes, clichés, and mood whiplashes throughout. The twists came out of absolutely nowhere, and the resolution had no consequence. Like the Pokemon movies, it takes place outside of the plotline of the series, so there are no lessons learned, no purpose, and no reason to ever mention this movie again. I will take that opportunity to burry this plot in the recesses of my mind.
I only rate the animation so low because I expected more. It barely seemed up to par with the series of Brotherhood. Sure, they used some fancy CGI effects to make some of the scenes look modern, but they didn’t even add that much of an impact. Hey, I’m not looking for a Makoto Shinkai level of animation with every movie budget, nor do I expect every battle sequence to look like the Disney adaptation of the Firebird Suite, but please, could you at least make it better than the series upon which it’s based, and actually use the CGI for something other than train tracks?
The voice actors were mostly excellent, like they were in the series. It’s the new characters that had issues. Alexis Tipton as Julia Crichton was okay, nothing amazing but at least she didn’t make any major mistakes. Matthew Mercer as her brother, on the other hand, was very much over the top, especially at the end. With the lines he had to say though, I don’t blame him too much. Vic Mignogna and Maxey Whitehead were fun to listen to as Ed and Al, but it barely seemed like they were used properly other than to try to piece together the ridiculous plot and spout Aesopic one liners.
The music was great… for when it was present. As another reviewer said, a big problem with many of the battle sequences is that the music is not present. It just seems like chaotic noise, both what’s on screen and the sound of me banging my head on the table. The opening and ending credits also had awkwardly placed J-pop and J-rock tunes that served more as plugs for bands than providing any cinematic value.
This is where the movie really dropped the ball. There just wasn’t enough of the characters you know and love. The story wasn’t even about them. It was about these “OCs” that have no emotional investment by the audience (as much as the movie fails at trying to make the audience make that investment). Unfortunately, these characters are ones we’ve seen before, a girl taken in by people who want their freedom who doesn’t even know she’s being used, and a brother who has delusions of grandeur just because he has a lot of power and the “torn childhood” excuse to use that power for selfish reasons. Oh, and the villian is one of those "new world order" villains we've seen a million times.
Really, there isn’t more to the characters than that. Oh, and Roy Mustang fans; your favorite colonel spends most of the movie sitting at his desk answering the phone and riding a train. He doesn’t do anything significant through the whole movie except talk, talk, talk. Winry also makes a completely meaningless appearance, probably because some executive couldn’t bear to see an FMA movie without the sight of her breasts. It was sickening to see the characters used that way.
I don’t see any reason for anyone to see this movie. It was bad, Atlantis the Lost Empire bad. It is certainly not worthy of bearing the Full Metal Alchemist name and should be buried in the same graveyard as the Star Wars Christmas Special. Also, don’t pay attention to anything timeroverx says about the anime. It was probably his fault that the anime was so terrible. :P
First Look - Let me tell you, after watching the season final of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood than reading about the message at the end and finding out there was going to be a movie, I was super exicted. I couldn't wait for it and I immediatly looked up info in anticipation since I'm like the bigest fanboy of the entire existance of Fullmetal Alchemist. After a few months and rewatching both anime multiple times I find out it will conclude Brotherhood and be made by Bones. So I was really hoping too see characters like Olivier and Ling Yao and more of the cast from later in the series. But after reading some more it turned out that it wouldn't exactly be a conclusion, but more like a side story ealier in the anime and that it would introduce brand new characters. So that hurt the chances of having a large cast of characters that I already loved =\ So I finally watched a while ago and here are my thoughts.
Story - Hiromu Arakawa didn't write the story so you know it isn't going be as good as the her actual story of FMA. But I definitely think Bones did a great job with the pacing and what they kind of story they were trying to tell. I would have like more individual fights towards the end, like maybe the bad guys had some henchman that Roy and Riza could have fought. But that was just me wanting to see more of them. I kind of predicted things, but they were obvious things that are done in pretty much every show in existance. I liked Julia's back story and the stories of all the new character and thought the story was told well. My only problem was that I didn't seem like it involved the actual FMA characters enough. Ed and Al are the stars and there were kind of just there. Honestly I would have liked it better if maybe the movie focused on a few characters in the actual manga and anime that still had a story to be told. There could have easily been a stand alone movie with a different title. But overall I watched it all the way through without even questioning the story. So I give it an 8.5.
Animation - The only complaint I had before actually watching the anime was the actual character designs. They looked a bit cartoony for what the anime and manga series gave us. But when I got into watching I got used to it and sucked it up since honestly it wasn't that bad anyways. The fights looked a bit weird but other than that it was fine. I'm not one to complain about the actual animation so I'll give it a 9.
Music - One thing that Bones did absolutly right in both anime series, especially Brotherhood, was the music. You felt so much emotion just by hearing it and it could quickly change your mood just by a simple scene transition. And I still loved the music in this movie. A perfect 10!
Characters - The main reason why I loved the manga and Brotherhood was the characters. I loved every single characer (good guys). And that's where the complaint comes in. I really wished the anime could have focused on the original characters more than the new characters. Even though I liked them I didn't absolutely love them. I wanted more Roy and his humor was just there to fix Ed's automail torwards the end so she was useless in the anime, and I hate to actually say too. But since that is more of a personal complaint I can't be too harsh. I give the characters an 8.
The storyline for "Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos" disappointed me on several levels. It felt cheesy, overly-political, and hackneyed. The whole story felt incredibly rushed, with horrificly bad dialogue. The wrong turn they made with this effort, was straying from the series country, and own characters. Whereas the first film "CoS" had used a few new characters to add to the plot and closure of the first series, "Milos" just made it more convoluted, and added a slew of characters we could barely care about.
Let's just say that it barely looked like the FMA we know and love. I wasn't sure if I was watching a Studio Ghibli film, or a BONES FMA flick. The blunt lines of Ed's hair, the strangely "scratchy" action scenes. All of it just seemed slapped together, and it was very distracting, especially for a huge fan of the series.
What happened to all the amazing Michiru Oshima masterpieces?? FMA is well-known for its operatic battle scenes, and electric fight sequences. The sound (or lack thereof) created a series of anti-climactic battles which left the viewer a bit confused, and well...emotionless.
Even the dialogue was ridiculous!
Character A: "It will destroy everyone in the valley!"
Character B: "You mean it will kill the people in the valley!?"
REALLY?! Are we 5 years old?!
Let's just say that of the VERY few original FMA characters that were on screen, well, they were basically sad little cameos. I'm not even sure why they even bothered throwing Roy Mustang in, and let me just say that putting Alex Armstrong onscreen without taking his shirt off, should be ILLEGAL.
Essentially, you are introduced to Julia and a bunch of other Cretans or Milocians, or Table City people, or WHATEVER, which you will hardly care about by the end of the film. While Ed and Al are being thrown around just for kicks, spewing some of the cheesiest and most repetitive lines EVER.
People complain about "CoS", but in comparison, "CoS" is a MASTERPIECE, at least it had a cohesive story-line weaved in with the FMA series, great dialogue, more original characters (actually doing stuff), great music, and far better animation. AND I still felt EMOTION by the end of it.
I ultimately felt like "FMA: Milos" was just one BIG CASH GRAB for the studios, and they just rushed through it for the $$$$. It's sad, and many may disagree, but this movie was not up to par with the awesomeness that is FMA.
This movie was embarassing for FMA.
It's ironic. The reason I didn't go watch this movie when it first came out was because I didn't like the animation style from the trailers, yet the animation is probably one of the best features of this train wreck of a movie, despite a few issues here and there.
I try to keep spoilers out of my reviews, but I might not be able to keep them all out since quite a few issues I have with this movie occurred during big reveals. So, I'm going to put in a WARNING: SPOILER ALERT ahead.
Um...there's a story in here, right? Frankly, it was confusing as all heck, I had to pause the movie and go back to parts of it to try to understand it, and by the end, I was left scratching my head.
Let's see...I think the story is something like: Two kids studied alchemy amidst a war between...no, wait...
Two siblings from the neighboring providence were able to escape from the slums of Creta during a war because their parents were alchemists. Their original city of Milos was invaded by Creta, which was then invaded by Amestris, and resides on the boarder between Creta and Amestris...
So, right, eventually, their parents are murdered by unknown assailants who left the girl alive.
Back to the main timeline, there's a prison break from a fugitive who is supposedly the brother of the siblings when he saw the picture of his sister being captured by Amestris soldiers for trying to sneak in.
Ed and Al encounter the fugitive, and are later sent to Table City (that place which was invaded twice) where the train they're on is attacked by a werewolf...I mean, a wolf-man...erm, a wolf chimera, and the wolf chimera then attacks the fugitive who had been on another passing train after fighting with Ed.
Due to the fight, Ed and Al meet the people of Milos, and learn that the girl and some underground movement form the slums between Creta and Table City want to take their land back.
A non-imaginative plot, plus super confusing...equals a low score. Sorry, but this was just way more confusing than it needed to be.
No complaints on the main characters; my rating went to the new characters introduced.
There's the girl, Julia, who is practically a Mary Sue. Let's go down the checklist:
Parents killed horribly? Check.
Is able to use alchemy? Check.
Falls for/peaks the love interest of one of the standard characters? Check...Alphonse, you have May; stop making doe eyes at Julia!
The list goes on.
Then, there's the escaped fugitive, supposedly her brother Ashley, who has all the makings of either a villain or an anti-hero.
Not worth your time. The movie is nearly two hours long; I suggest doing something more worthwhile with that two hours of your life this movie will waste.
This movie met my expectations perfectly; I had no expectations for this movie, and it lived up to that.
I watched the first anime and was reading scanlations of the manga as each episode and chapter came out. I saw the first movie (which was cringe-worthy in some aspects); I went on and saw Brotherhood. I watched all the OVAs, skits, and sketches.
However, none of them made as little sense as this movie did. Non-spoiler issues I have with this movie is that it moves at a pace where the viewer is often wondering what is going on. Creta, Amestris, the city, Milos...
Everything just sort of mashes together like one giant train wreck.
Sorry, I'm going to have to go into spoilers here, because there are nagging parts of this. Besides just how plain confusing it was, this movie is an insult to the Fullmetal Alchemist franchise.
Again, these issues I have with this movie are SPOILER HEAVY, so if you don't want to read SPOILERS, then STOP READING HERE.
So, one issue of the movie are the wolf-chimeras. Exactly how were they made? Were these chimeras just Cretan soldiers? We never find out...and if it is explained somewhere in the movie, I missed it over the mass confusion that was the rest of the movie.
Also, exactly why did the upstart let Ed and Al sniff around, only to turn and try to have them killed instead of using them to solve the rest of the riddle (by connecting some rather obscure points, I'll admit; I'm big into logic puzzles and riddles, but even this was a huge stretch) they were clearly onto? Movie, start making sense!!
Moving on, the creation of the Philosopher's Stone. We learned in FMA that the stones require live humans to create. Each time we see one being made, it's pretty much taking the souls out of the people, and sometimes their bodies as well. Yes, as "information for the soul", Ed and Al used a drop of their blood when they attempted human transmutation, but blood obviously doesn't carry the soul, because though Al's soul is bound to the armor due to a blood seal, it's not HIS blood it's sealed with.
One can then argue that, since the Gate of Truth linked them, that's why Ed was able to bind Al's soul with his own blood. However, if blood was the main container of the soul, then when Xerxes and Amestris was used as a giant human alchemy circle, the bodies would have been drained of their blood rather than their lifeforce.
I am going somewhere with this; my point is, in this movie, blood was used to create the philosopher's stone...and with only two people as sacrifices. That doesn't go over very well or mesh with the ideas created with the rest of the series. Living humans are the source, not dying humans due to being stabbed through and bleeding out.
Next issue: The main antagonist. For one, he's forgettable. When his name was first mentioned, and then shown in a flashback, I sort of went "uh...who was this, again?". It wasn't like he even played any sort of major role up until he killed Julia's parents and ripped the face off of her brother...
Which brings me to the next point: How the heck did he manage to disguise himself with the skin of someone's face? It's not like it was a mask he could sculpt, it was SKIN. Just tearing off someone's skin from their face doesn't give them the same eye color and face shape as the person they did it from. Also, how did he attach it? Are we to presume he used human transmutation to alter himself?
Okay, let's presume for a moment that he was able to do that, even though it's obvious that he never opened the Gate in the movie. Let's say that, somehow, he was able to sculpt peeled skin from someone's face to make him look like that person, and attach it via alchemy.
Well, then, what about body size and structure?
This guy was so well disguised, that it would make Kaitou Kid and Vermouth (from Detective Conan) jealous! I mean, to go from a muscular soldier of average height to a tall and skinny guy...must have been some transmutation he did on himself!
Also, he's a normal human...so how was he still moving around like nothing was wrong after being stabbed in the back?
Next issue: This is one of the rare instances where, in a "boss fight", Roy is there with the Elric brothers to fight with them. So what happens? He's barely even seen after agreeing to face the enemy with the brothers. When his character came up quite a few times in the movie, I thought he might play a larger role. But, just like the last movie, he was pretty much useless for the majority of it; though even in the previous movie, he at least saw more action than this one.
There was no epic fight scene; no scene where Roy joins together with Ed and Al to fight the real Ashley in the end. Rather, the final "battle" was a little bit of crossing swords between Ed and Ashley, then it became a Harry Potter-like showdown with bolts of alchemy energy between siblings who just stood there and used the power of their respective stones.
And that bit with the earring? What exactly was that supposed to be? Did it somehow enhance the power, or funnel it differently? It made no sense!
Speaking of not making sense, at the battle's end, Julia uses the last of the stone within her to bring her brother back from the brink of death by opening up the Gate...yet Ed says later on that she didn't use human alchemy to do so because you can't bring the dead back to life.
Uh, I'm pretty sure that, when Roy got his vision restored at the end of FMA with the use of the stone, nobody opened the Gate to do so or had to give anything up. Julia apparently did.
Why? Um...dramatic flair? I have no idea. It's also not clear that the Gate took something until she was shown in the hospital, only that there was bleeding. For all the gushing blood they showed in the movie, did they somehow become squeamish when it came to the fact that she lost most of her leg?
There's still the "why" attached to that, as well. She was using the power of the stone to essentially heal her dying brother. The Gate shouldn't have shown up, and there shouldn't have been any fees because the souls in the stone would pay the "toll" if it was a case of opening up the Gate...
Know what? That part just makes no sense at all. It wasn't human transmutation, because nobody can be brought back from the dead, but the Gate was involved?
Face-Ripping Awesomeness! Combonation of Star Wars, werewolves, and blood! Had nothing to do with FMA!</div>