I'm no follower of anime (unless it's Studio Ghibli) or manga but I do try to catch their live-action versions where I can, as the genre has thrown up some gems in the past (such as the DEATH NOTE films). As such, watching FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST, a Netflix-made version of the popular story series, was an entirely new experience for me. And, truth be told, a hollow one. The story begins with one massive CGI spectacle after another, and then slows down for a crawling, melodramatic mid-section full of family drama and background scheming. Things pick up on the CGI front for another big climax. Speaking of the effects, they range from the excellent (the metal brother) to the less than impressive (the CGI tentacles). The story is set in an interesting, mock European country and has some fun elements of mysticism and alchemy in it, but little is done at the forefront of the narrative. The hero is a youthful, brooding metrosexual who beats on his brother for no reason and always seems to be one step behind the bad guys. The villains are straight from a pantomime. I did enjoy some of the CGI creations - the homunculi look great - but overall there's little here to get excited over.
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The plot takes place at the beginning of the 20th century, in a reality where alchemy is real, extremely developed and respected. The plot features brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric who, after attempting the forbidden technique of human transmutation, suffer the consequences. Alphonse loses his entire body while Edward loses his left leg. Edward then sacrifices his right arm to save his brother's soul by attaching it to a metal suit of armor. Edward is then given mechanical prosthetics known as "automail" in place of his missing arm and leg. Upon acceptance into the State Alchemists, he is given the nickname "Fullmetal Alchemist", all while searching with Alphonse for the legendary philosopher's stone, that will repair their bodies.
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