A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos is a fairly violent movie that follows an earlier Fullmetal Alchemist movie and the successful Japanese TV series. Expect heavy fantasy violence, including fighting, shooting, and stabbing -- plus gushing blood, death, and dying. A character also tears at a woman's clothes, though not for a sexual purpose. The movie is available in both Japanese and dubbed into English; subtitles in the Japanese version include words like "bastard," "hell," and "crap." Teen fans of this series will be excited, while others are likely to be a little confused by the movie's complicated plot and lack of character introduction.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
The Elric brothers, Edward (voiced by Vic Mignogna in the English dubbed version) and Alphonse (Maxey Whitehead), are alchemist heroes, trapped in different bodies after an accident. After a mysterious prisoner breaks out of jail with only a short time left on his sentence, the brothers attempt to solve the puzzle. Their investigation leads them to a beautiful alchemist named Julia (Alexis Tipton), who lost her parents and her brother years earlier. Before long, they find themselves in a valley inhabited by the Milos, a repressed people struggling against exploitation. Julia hopes to lead the Milos in a revolution, and she's even prepared to use the deadly power of the Philosopher's Stone to do it.
Is it any good?
The movie is gorgeously animated and has many powerful images and ideas. Fullmetal Alchemist began as a popular manga series, then became a TV series in Japan, followed by 2005's Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa. FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: THE SACRED STAR OF MILOS is the first title in the franchise to be released in U.S. theaters. That's probably exciting for fans, but less so for others, as the new movie does little to bring newcomers up to speed. For example, since Ed and Al's characters have already been established, they aren't very deeply developed here; most of the time is spent on the convoluted plot and supporting characters.
And the plot is really ridiculously complex -- though also sometimes simplistic, as when basic dramatic turns and arcs occur. Its big, outsized themes and end-of-the-world dramatics are fairly familiar to this type of anime. But what little we do get of Ed and Al is enough of a sampler to spur viewers on to find more in the series.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's violence. Does the fact that it's animated lessen the impact of all the blood and killing?
Are Ed and Al positive role models? Would you be interested in seeing them in other stories?
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