Review: ‘Full Metal Alchemist’ film fun to watch

By John Darrell Martin


In a world where gifted individuals called alchemists can transform matter to perform fantastic feats, two brothers head to a distant valley in search of a fugitive alchemist.

The brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, are alchemists known far and wide for their amazing accomplishments as well as one costly mistake — a mistake that left Edward missing an arm and leg and his brother Alphonse soul-bound to a giant suit of armor.

Shortly after reaching their destination, the brothers befriend a young woman with a tragic past named Julia and find themselves involved in a struggle between her people, the Milos, and their oppressors. Julia and the Milos are planning a rebellion to take back their land with the help of a mysterious object called “The Sacred Star of Milos,” which sounds all too familiar to the brothers. Mysteries unfold and hidden agendas are revealed as the Full Metal Alchemist, Edward, and Alphonse search for the truth behind it all.

Full Metal Alchemist is a Japanese animation (anime) series that has found success and built a loyal fan base in the United States. This full-length feature film, “The Sacred Star of Milos,” hopes to continue that success. The return of the original voice cast, an intriguing new story, and a production team with a solid track record are all reasons for fans to be excited.

I was initially disappointed I could only view the film in Japanese with English subtitles. That disappointment quickly faded, as I found the Japanese actors to be very entertaining. The emotions behind the voices broke through the language barrier with little resistance. Anger, humor, joy and pain all seemed present in an overall well-done performance. I particularly found myself enjoying Romi Parks’ excellent performance as Edward Elric.

Throughout the film I was pleased to find the production value seemed to be just as good as the original series. The music blended well with the action and didn’t overpower less-intense sequences. The world of Full Metal Alchemist is beautiful and the animation of the film is crisp. There were a few moments, particularly during fight scenes, that I noticed some rough spots but those moments were limited and did not really harm the experience.

The pacing of the film was excellent with just the right balance of dialogue and action. The one time I found myself wondering when the next action sequence was coming, it appeared. The action in the film is a real treat. The epic fights are fast-paced and the final battle had me on the edge of my seat. The story itself is a familiar tale of the struggle between those with power and those without it. Tragedy, love, deception and betrayal are all present in this story and one or two of the twists actually managed to surprise me.

I would definitely recommend “The Sacred Star of Milos” to fans of the Full Metal Alchemist series. Newcomers, however, may find themselves lost in the story or wondering how it is the characters can do what they do. The film does not spend much time addressing things such as the Elric brothers’ infamous past, how alchemy works, or what the heck a “chimera” is. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though, since the film seems intended for those already familiar with the fantastic world of Full Metal Alchemist.

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John Darrell Martin

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