(Japan - 2017; US release 2018)
Directed by Fumihiko Sori. Written by Hiromu Arakawa. Cast: Ryosuke Yamada, Tsubasa Honda, Dean Fujioka, Atom Miziushi, Misako Renbutso, Kanata Hongo, Shinji Uchiyama, Jun Kunimura, Yo Oizumi, Ryuta Sato, Fumiyo Kohinata, Yasuko Matsuyuki, Natsuki Harada. (Unrated, 134 mins)
Based on Hiromu Arawaka's extremely popular, long-running manga that's already been adapted into two Japanese anime TV series and two anime films, FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST is the first live action version, which was released by Warner Bros. to mixed reviews and decent but below-expectation box office in Japan last December before landing in the US this week as a Netflix Original. Thanks to THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX, the term "Netflix Original" is quickly growing synonymous with "major studio dumpjob," and FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST does little to dispel that perception. Having creator Arakawa onboard to write the screenplay seems like a good idea in theory, but the end result is a jumbled mess that tries to accomplish more than a 2 1⁄4 hour movie can cover. If you aren't already up to speed with the characters, their relationship to one another, their motivations, or what alchemists, homonculi, chimeras, and "The Gate of Truth" are in Arakawa's extensive world building, then good luck making heads or tails of much of FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST.