The Series of Fullmetal Alchemist is a classic anime, a must-watch. It is exciting and mind-blowing, and one of my favorites. So, how does this classic compared to its live-action counterpart? If you are on the fence about whether to see the movie, wondering if it is going to be like many other live-action adaptations like Death Note, Dragon Ball Evolution and many other failed attempts, this review from a hardcore fan might be helpful for you. In my opinion, it is a fun watch and a very well done live-action adaptation. The film follows the Fullmetal Alchemist plot line and not Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (the manga-faithful adaptation). So, the movie will feel a bit dark for Brotherhood fans.
I will go over the characters and what the LAM did good and missed, mainly because in my mind the character interactions are what makes Fullmetal Alchemist what it is:
Edward Elric – In my opinion, Edward’s character adaptation is one of the weakest of the movie. What the live-action movie capture well is his regret and love for his brother, but in doing so, they don’t really capture his feisty and gung-ho personality. He also spends too much time on his knees and out of action and what’s worse, he doesn’t use much alchemy.
Alphonse Elric – The CGI armor is very well done in my opinion. As to the character himself, his voice is dim, and he doesn’t have much dialogue, which is too bad. Also, they gloss over how Alphonse started using his alchemy without a transmutation circle.
Winry Rockbell – To me, the LAM version of Winry is a bit too different from its series counterpart. I felt like she is there to be the comic relief, quirky girl, which in my mind is a bit distracting since she is one of the most grounded characters of the anime. Despite that, she is a lovable character.
Maes Hughes – This character is spot-on; his goofy, lovable persona is well translated into the live-action movie. Even his dorky “YO” makes it. Sadly, the Hughes family interaction that we all love is amiss, with Gracia being only pregnant and not having the little Elicia who is idolized by her father. But, the death scene is well done, even though there is a bit of a twist.
Roy Mustang – The live-action movie manages to capture the somber persona of the Ishbal war hero. Too bad his love for his subordinate isn’t captured at all.
Riza Hawkeye: The LAM has many opportunities to get Riza’s character to show her devotion to Roy Mustang, but fails to do so. She is just there.
Maria Ross – Maria’s brief appearance is done well, in my opinion.
Envy – Envy is mostly quiet, so you get none of the fun interactions with Ed, and his pipsqueak status, which I missed.
Shou Tucker – A spot-on translation to the big screen, this guy is as creepy and mad as in the anime version.
Nina & Alexander – Is someone chopping onions?…sniff, sniff…I was prepared to see them in the live action movie but I wasn’t prepared for how amazingly done their part in the movie is. And how much more shocking it is in the live action film setting.
Tim Marcoh – The LAM nails his character and look.
Father Cornello – In my opinion, his character is well done. His appearance was brief but to the point.
Lust – Her character is done well and spot-on.
Gluttony – I was impressed that the producers included the stomach creature. The CGI on it is well done. His character also hits the mark.
I know it is a challenge to pack the contents of 52 episodes into a 2-hour movie, but there are several plot holes throughout, and if I’d never seen the anime or read the manga, I would have had many “wait what happened? Why are they doing this?” moments. There are also many changes to where events happened, but I didn’t feel that affected the plot much.
As an FMA fan, one tiny thing I wished the filmmakers added was the classic metallic sound every time the Elrics clap their hands. And to have Ed use a lot more alchemy.
I think the producers nailed the Fullmetal Alchemist feeling with all the villages, scenery, and wardrobe (now I want an Amestris soldier uniform). The alchemy and some of the typical anime interactions and CGI is done well, and despite all the little things that might bug the hardcore fans, I still think Fullmetal Alchemist is a must-see movie.
The film was released in the US as a Netflix original on February 19.