FUNimation Entertainment has acquired the second film based on the popular franchise, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos. Having seen it in Baltimore with earlier this year, I thought now would be a good time to unveil the review since it will be getting a wide release soon. As an avid FMA fan, I truly enjoyed this experience. Watching it with other FMA fans was quite the movie watching experience as people all cheered, clapped, and laughed at the appropriate times. Fans of the series should note that unlike Noah and Alphons from Conquerer of Shamballa who were essential to the story, but still maintained their presence from the sidelines at most times, Julia and Melvin held a larger part in this movie, sometimes even placing Ed as supporting roles at times.
The story is plenty compelling enough — Edward, the Fullmetal Alchemist, and brother Alphonse, investigating the escape of a dangerous criminal with the ability to harness the power of ice as a weapon, get tangled in a web that eventually involves separated siblings and an outcast nation trying to rise from its shabby valley surroundings to stand as equals once more with the two nations surrounding it. In the lost holy land of Milos, the Elrics search for the truth behind an unknown form of alchemy. What secrets are hidden in Milos? Riddles must be solved and dangers faced before the truth can be found! A very epic tone ets in right away. The art direction is the best the series has ever looked and the environments are engrossing. It’s not really an art direction, but Fullmetal has always lingered in Steampunk territory.
The movie also gave us a brief glimpse of the series’ regular cast as well. While the brothers are the focus of the movie, Roy Mustang and Riza Hawkeye play minor roles. The only one way the brothers can restore their bodies is to find the fabled Philosopher’s Stone. A fugitive alchemist with mysterious abilities leads them to a distant valley of slums. Then, they get dragged into the whole political-terrorism whish whash between Creta and the people of Milos who want to take their country back. There are also twists here, both expected and unexpected. Additionally, the original movie characters are actually very enjoyable and not over the top. The storytelling is fluid, the concepts are easy to grasp and although there are details which relate to the main storyline, they are details that don’t require that much knowledge to follow the movie itself. In other words, it is an easy film to get into, even if you haven’t seen much of the source material.
All in all, Sacred Star of Milos is the best entry in the Fullmetal Alchemist franchise thus far. This positive buzz is essential, as in less than a decade, Fullmetal Alchemist has become one of the best-selling anime properties in the United States, even challenging the venerable Dragon Ball Z. Over 1.2 million copies of the manga have been published in North America since the launch in May 2005. The amount of hype and expectations fall right in line with the positive reaction I had with this film. Although Ed and Al will develop as characters in the movie, their learning does not conclude with the movie but continues in the main storyline of Brotherhood. So when the film is done you can always go back to the series and learn even more. A fun way to wrap up the film and if steampunk is your cup of tea, you msot likely won’t do better then giving this film a shot.