The 2nd Dimension

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Viewing Journal: Fullmetal Alchemist - Sacred Star of Milos

Movie Overview
DVD Info

Overall= B+
Story = B+
Video = A
Audio = B

After a mysterious prisoner with only a few weeks left on his sentence breaks out of prison in Central City, the Elric brothers attempt to track him down. The search leads them to Table City in the southwestern country of Creta, where Alphonse rescues a young alchemist named Julia from the very man they are trying to capture. In the thick of the fight, they literally tumble into Julia's home turf, the slums of Milos Valley, and are embroiled in the grassroots rebellion of her people. (Source: ANN)
Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos is a stand-alone story in the FMA universe. It does not build on or effect anything related to the plot of either series (of which there are two alternate versions), but even so it has much of the quality that you come to expect from the FMA franchise. It has the cool alchemic battles and genuine drama; plus, everything from the action to the setting to the story has a grand, epic scale worthy of a theatrical feature. The main characters, Ed and Al, display all the qualities that made us love them in the series: their skills with alchemy, their drive to follow their goals without compromising their principles, and their tendency to inspire those around them. Thankfully, however, this movie is surprisingly lacking in the running gags that were omnipresent in both FMA TV series. So no jokes about Ed being short or about people confusing the armor-clad Al as being the famous "Fullmetal Alchemist."

The one thing that this movie does not have that the series—especially the second series FMA: Brotherhood—does have is the strong supporting cast; as almost everyone in this movie other than Ed or Al is original to this story. Sure, the movie has passionate characters with strong backstories and motivations that supply a powerful emotional impact; but they are not as well-rounded or quirky as the characters of the TV series. Many of the series' supporting characters could carry the show even when the main characters were not around. They have paradoxical aspects to their personalities—the bad-ass woman who boldly leads an army of men, the gentile strongman, the child who is pure evil…the list goes on. But in this movie the characters' personalities are relatively strait-forward, even if some of their superficial aspects (i.e., the bat-people) are not; and it's mostly their reaction to Ed and Al that allows the best parts of their personalities to shine.

So, all that being said, there are two lingering questions about this movie: how will fans of the series like it; and how will those unfamiliar with the series like it. (And I'll follow that up by saying that you could come into this movie after watching either FMA TV series because there is nothing in this movie that is exclusive to either series.)

For the first question, it depends on what you are expecting. If you want to see of your favorite character and your favorite character is someone other than Ed or Al then you will be gravely disappointed. Sure Mustang, Hawkeye, and Winrey occasionally show their faces, but they do nothing of consequence. Even when Mustang joins in the final battle, he does next to nothing to show his powers. Then there's Armstrong who comes on scene to do nothing more than deliver a message to Mustang. It's fairly obvious that the only reason those characters exist in this movie is to give fans something to fawn over. But personally, I would prefer that they not be in there at all instead of wedging them awkwardly in throw-away roles.

For those who have never seen any FMA before, I think they might enjoy the movie quite a bit. The movie does assume you have some prior knowledge from the series regarding alchemy and it's concepts and principles; but I still think that it is simple enough that a non-fan could figure out anything that is not overtly explained. And I also think that it may give those audiences enough of a taste of the series to motivate them to go out and investigate it further.

So overall, I think this is a great movie that is fun and has enough of a taste of the FMA universe to please fans and non-fans alike.

[ For a full list of reviews see the Viewing Journal Archive ]

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