Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos

It's midnight now, so naturally I started watching this new epic chapter in the FMA legend while waiting for my hair to dry before going to sleep. I'm currently still just 10 minutes in, but I already enraptured by this fresh revisit to the nostalgic FMA universe. There has already been two battle sequences which is enough to say that the animation is top notch. Our favorite metal duo, new unexplored country, mysterious new alchemy techniques...I can only forgo sleep to continue watching. Will continue to write this review after I finish watching...

Wow, that was awesome. This movie was definitely everything I love about the FMA series and more. As I got more and more immersed, I start to remember the characters' quirks and motivations, and I start to wish the FMA series went on forever. Hell, I think I'll go reread FMA after writing this up.

Synopsis (spoilers, duh):
The movie seems to be set some time in the middle of the FMA timeline as the brothers have knowledge of the truth about the philosopher's stone and they know about chimeras, but they have not regained their bodies yet. Seeing as how the latter events in the FMA manga happened pretty fast in succession, I would think they did not have time for such an adventure during this time. Therefore, I think this movie is more of an alternate world.  One more aspect of that theory is that the mechanism for creating a philosopher's stone was much different, but that may simply be a difference in technology between countries.

Anyway, the prologue portrays a traumatic past of a pair or brother and sister of an alchemy researcher family. Then, cut to the present. The story starts off with the Elric brothers chasing after an escaped convict that trashed the Amestris prison, and wields alchemic lightening and ice powers from his palms. They head for the border of a newly introduced country, Cleta, while chasing the picture of the presumed target of the convict: Julia Crichton who is the sister from the prologue. So, the audience is presumed to think that the convict is Ashley Crichton, the older brother, but he is scarred near the neck which seem to be a result of him getting attack during the prologue. On the train, the Elric brothers encounter Cletan spies, wolf chimera and Ashley. During the ensuing battle (beautifully choreographed btw), a flock of Batmen with hang-gliders and grappling hooks join in. They enter Table City/Milos Plateau, and Ashley assists his sister in breaking out of prison. The whole gang drops off the the plateau into the valley where trash is dumped and the community of Milos refugees now live. Fast forward a few developments and the brothers discover that Milos Plateau is actually a 3D transmutation circle for creating philosopher stones called Sacred Stars by the Milos people (hence the title). I start getting suspicious of Ashley after his explanation of his survival did not match the prologue and he never explains his scars. There was also one instance where the wolf chimera protected Julia from falling debris; Ed also noticed it. Fast forward some more: Ashley turns out to be a fake and a Cletan spy that stole the Crichton families research when he was their bodyguard. He starts funneling blood of the Black Bats into the city's mechanism and steals a map that was imprinted on Julia's body. The city wide mechanism activates and a philosopher stone is made with the blood of a few hundred people. Fake Ashley, Julia and Ed fight it out in the chamber where the stone is produced, and Julia ends up swallowing the stone to gain a huge Super Saiyan power boost. Here's where the show gets Star Wars like with Sith lightening of all colors being thrown around. At this time, the Cleta military on the other side of the valley blows up a geothermal power station which starts spewing out lava that threatens the Milos colony at the bottom of the valley. Julia arrives to use her new super powers to stop the lava. Fake Ashley tries to stop her, but he is killed by real Ashley. Julia's real brother seemed to have survived by also ingesting a philosopher's stone after fake Ashley ripped off his face and skin. More lightening and "Julia, I am you brother" moments thrown around. Eventually they stop the lava, and Julia heals Ashley using up all the rest of the power of their stones. All is well, Al and Julia have a nice romantic moment. Er...Winry showed up at some point along with Mustang and Hawkeye. End.

Overall, I really like this movie. It was very well self contained and even FMA-naive people can watch this without too much confusion. I do feel like there could have been more humor. Two hours of Ed and Al action and not a single chibi/short joke was thrown. Also, I wish Mustang could have seen some action. He did face off against some wolf chimera near the end, but all the fight was finished off screen. Even Hawkeye got her chance to shine in apprehending Soyuz. The city mechanism for a 3D transmutation circle was actually very cool to watch, but much more complex than the method in the original story line.

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