Review of 'Fullmetal Alchemist (Hagane no renkinjutsushi)'

fullmetal_alchesmist.jpg In the early 20th century Edward Elric (Ryôsuke Yamada) is an alchemist in search of the “Philosopher's Stone” which he hopes will allow him to restore the body of his brother Alphonse (or “Al”; voiced by Aaron Dismuke) whose spirit is encased in a suit of armour after a childhood attempt to resurrect their mother fails. Edward himself suffered in the experience, losing an arm and a leg which have now been replaced with prosthetics. Three indestructible simulacrum (artificial humans), Lust (Yasuko Matsuyuki), Gluttony (Shinji Uchiyama) and Envy (Kanata Hongô) are determined to stop the brothers who discover an evil plot to take over the world…(as you do).

As a live action film of the manga and anime “Fullmetal Alchemist” this certainly looks the part but seems to lack any emotional depth (though perhaps that is in keeping with it's origins). The story is fairly straightforward though moves along at a snails pace with very few action sequences. It looks and feels cheaply made though there does appear to be a real attempt to be true to the look of the original source material, or as much as you can when translating into the real world. All of the characters are one-dimensional save the brothers who are forever brooding and anguishing over their situation (Edward more than the more easy-going Al) rather than perhaps actually doing something about it. There is Ed's cute, juvenile mechanic, who is there to do that and absolutely nothing else, and numerous by-the-book military types from the State Alchemists who are just there to get in the way of any sort of action or cannon fodder when it does eventually come.

Despite the ending throwing up a few surprises the entire film feels over long, lacking any heart and lacking any characters that sustain our interest. Having said that, the baddies are REAL baddies though, again, a bit “one trick ponies” with only a single talent that is repeated over and over again: Seriously, a baddie that simply EATS his opponents? Quirky, yes, interesting, perhaps not. The final army of baddies is simply gross and never really seems to be a threat…shoot them in the head and that is it. Way too easy.


Rating: “A bit better than average”

Review Date: 2021-01-24

Directed by: Fumihiko Sori

Studio: Aniplex

Year: 2017

Length: 135 minutes

Genre: Action/Adventure

Other reviewed films by Fumihiko Sori: