Tag Archives: Square Enix

Fullmetal Alchemist (2017 Movie)

Netflix/Warner Bros./Oxybot Inc./Square Enix

My rating: 4.5 of 5

Brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric find their lives forever changed when their childhood attempt to use alchemy to resurrect their mother ends tragically, with Ed losing a leg and an arm and Al losing his body entirely–only Ed’s quick thinking and sacrifice binding Al’s soul to an old suit of armor in the house. Years later, Ed has become an Alchemist for the military in order to access their resources, and the brothers travel the country searching for the Philosopher’s Stone, the one thing they are convinced will help them get their bodies back. But stranger and larger forces are at work in the country, and the two find themselves treading into murky waters, thick with government intrigue, homonculi, and people who will stop at nothing to achieve their goals.

First of all, thank you Netflix for making this available in the U.S.! Secondly, I have seen such a polarized array of reviews that I feel I need to write my own review in two sections–the first discussing who should and who shouldn’t watch this movie, and the second discussing what I personally enjoyed and my general impressions of the movie. You should know before going into this that Fullmetal Alchemist is a Japanese live-action movie based generally (not precisely) on the manga and anime series of the same title. It’s not exactly the same story, so don’t expect that; rather it is an adaptation of the story crafted to suit the live-action movie format, and I believe it does that very well. Also, it’s Japanese–Japanese actors, Japanese language, subs only. Moreover, the acting style and the humor shown here are very Japanese–tastefully done, but stylistically distinct, so if you don’t like that, pick something else to watch. But if you’re interested in a creative, well-cast, cinematically gorgeous adaptation of this beloved story, Fullmetal Alchemist (2017) may be worth your checking out.

For myself, I truly enjoyed this movie a great deal. I felt like the cast was chosen well and portrayed their roles excellently. The acting was very well done, keeping the darkness and tension of the story present, but balancing it with appropriate humor, friendship, and hope. Again, since this is an adaptation, certain characters don’t come up at all, and others don’t get as much attention and screen time as they might in a different format; however, I felt like the characters they chose to focus on and the way they wove their stories together told the story well and kept distractions from the main storylines to a minimum. With the plot itself, again, they adapted it, taking pieces from both Fullmetal Alchemist and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, while also doing some things unique to this particular movie, but I felt that the story they chose to tell was crafted well. Additionally, the ending point is conclusive enough for me to be okay leaving it there, but it leaves things open enough for the possibility of a sequel. . . . We can hope, right? Visually, this movie is absolutely stunning. The countryside where this was filmed is just gorgeous–a lot of it shot in Italy as well as some in Japan. The CGI is also incredible, like, seriously breathtaking. And the music is really beautiful as well, quite suited to the sweeping beauty of the country. My only minor complaints are that I would like a little more Al cuteness and open brotherly bromance (both of which are there, I just want more), and I could do with less fiery violence at the end (although that’s an important part of the big finish, so it’s kind of excused). But seriously, I was very impressed with the 2017 live-action version of Fullmetal Alchemist and would recommend it to anyone who likes Japanese live-action films and who isn’t going to nit-pickingly compare this to the anime, because if you’re that person, you won’t enjoy this. At all.

Written by Hiromu Arakawa/Directed by Fumihiko Sori/Produced by Yumihiko Yoshihara/Screenplay by Fumihiko Sori & Takeshi Miyamoto/Music by Reiji Kitasato/Starring Ryosuke Yamada, Atomu Mizuishi, Tsubasa Honda, Dean Fujioka, Ryuta Sato, Jun Kunimura, Fumiyo Kohinata, & Yasuko Matsuyuki

 

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Final Fantasy III

Square Enix

Once upon a time, four orphans were brought from the mainland to a floating continent where they grew up, unaware of their past. When the time was right, these four–Luneth, Arc, Refia, and Ingus–were drawn by the power of an ancient crystal to go on a quest to restore the balance between the Light and the Dark. Together, these four must travel the world, fighting monsters, growing in skill, and building precious friendships as they fight to regain all four of the crystals and restore the balance.

I love classic turn-based RPGs, and Final Fantasy III is probably one of my favorites. I think it captured my imagination from the first scenes of the opening–a vivid, beautifully animated and exquisitely orchestrated panorama of scenes from the game. And while the actual gameplay is much more old-school and pixellated, it certainly follows in the same vein of open adventure and imagination that so captivates the viewer in the opening. The world and characters are endearing and beautiful if you’re able to get past the older animation. And of course, the music is one of the things I love best in all the Final Fantasy games (although in any video game, the music can get a bit repetitive after a while). The gameplay itself is a standard turn-based style–which I definitely prefer, especially when playing on PC, as my coordination for any other type of game is limited. I’m largely playing for the story anyhow. One thing that is interesting, but challenging, about this particular game is the jobs system, which basically allows you to change the characters’ classes (or jobs) throughout the game. This is neat in that it allows you to try different skills sets, but it’s annoying in that for certain parts of the game, certain jobs are necessary–but it’s never actually spelled out what you need. (Personally, I’d recommend walkthroughs for these particular instances–save yourself the headache of trying to figure out which job is required.) I think for anyone who enjoys fantasy RPGs, Final Fantasy III would be an enjoyable game to try–and possibly a good starting point for those who have never tried this genre.

Note: As this is my first video game review, I’m still experimenting with what information to include, etc. Any suggestions regarding content, organization, and such would be welcome. Thanks!

Note 2: Also, I should mention that the version of this game that I played was the PC version available on Steam–so if you try it on other platforms, it will probably be similar, but there might be minor variations.

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Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

Square Enix

Written by Kazushige Nojima/Directed by Tetsuya Nomura & Takeshi Nozue/Produced by Yoshinori Kitase & Shinji Hashimoto/Music by Nobuo Uematsu

The world has been largely devastated, and a new disease known as “Geostigma” is wrecking havoc on the remaining population. Still, somehow, life goes on. For Cloud Strife, however, the past is still raw, and he clings to it, unable to move on. He and his childhood friend Tifa Lockheart run a courier service and look after a few orphaned children, and he would be more than grateful to maintain that simple life. When three individuals related to his old archenemy Sephiroth show up, kidnapping numerous children infected with Geostigma, it becomes clear that something is going on. Equally clear is that Cloud is going to have to get over his past failures and act if he doesn’t want to lose even more people who are precious to him.

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is a movie based on and continuing the story of the game Final Fantasy VII. I’ve played just enough of the game to be somewhat familiar with the characters and setting, but I think the plot of the movie would have been clearer if I had waited to watch it until I finished the game. Still, I don’t think it was that difficult to follow–it does pull characters, setting, and plot setup from the games, but what develops in the movie is largely the psychological and emotional drama of Cloud’s regrets and the relationships between him, Tifa, and the kids. Oh, and a lot of fantasy CG city action including some pretty crazy chases and an absolutely incredible (read impossible, but still impressive) fight drawing in a lot of characters who don’t show up anywhere else in the story. I must say the CG work was impressive, especially for a movie as old as it is. The selection of voice actors is also quite nice–some individuals in particular that I recognize from anime voicing were a pleasant surprise. And the music is absolutely gorgeous; that’s one of Final Fantasy‘s biggest draws for me in general, and Advent Children is no exception. I admit that this movie will probably be most beloved to those who enjoy the game series first, but I thought that Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children was an enjoyable fantasy/action movie even without that experience.

 

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