The Problem with Fullmetal Alchemist: Conquerors of Shambala

I LOVE the Fullmetal Alchemist series. It is my favorite TV show to ever be released. Many must be thinking how naive I am for worshipping an anime series, but I say this with great pride. I love the messages, characters, plot, humor, effects, and action that is pretty much in every episode of this series. So when I heard of the movie, I naturally went insane. After watching it, I fell into an odd depression. It wasn't that the movie was bad, but the fact that it was melancholy, and offered more questions than answers. So since this movie is going to be released on Blu-Ray, I decided to not do a review, but a critical analysis of problems with this film. While I saw that it did get generally positive reviews and I greatly enjoyed the film, I must offer a critical analysis of it.(Warning, contains spoilers and referances to the film that only those who have actually watched it may understand!)

1. Characters
One of the great things that Fullmetal Alchemist has been known for is the superb characters. Edward and Alphonse Elric are a great team, Ed being the one who acts mature, but is a hothead inside, with Alphonse being the voice of reason in the duo. Even the supporting cast is equally strong with hilarious characters such as Alex Louis Armstrong, to very broken and complicated characters, such as Scar. Unfortunately, the movie tries to do the impossible task of fitting each character into the 1 hour and 50 minute movie, while offering new ones. This present itself as a huge problem, since side characters are given little to no screen time, and new characters really lack the impact that the main characters of the series have had. If the film was longer, restrained itself from offering so many new characters, and focused on the ones that were in the series, than this could have really been a strong aspect of the film.

2. Longevity
I already have mentioned this, but the film is simply too short. 1 hour and 50 minutes, is barely enough time to have all the characters explained in great detail without sacrificing story, causing many events too short, and many characters too lack much substance. The main villain is a prime example, as she has screen time that is under 30 minutes, and gives a reason to her evil doings that is sub par to the reasons of other evil doers "doings" in this series. If the film was by any chance between two hours to 2 hours and 30 minutes, than the problem would have definitely been solved.

3. Ending
(Sigh)...What really caused me to view this film in such a disappointing manner, was the ending. Not everything is tied up, most of the results of the film are left for speculation, too much detail is spent on the Elric brothers, and the most of the main side characters are not even given a hint of explanation over their whereabouts. Here are a list of things that aren't explained:

  1. Relationship of Roy Mustang and Riza Hawkeye.
  2. What happened to Central after the final battle?
  3. The political situation in Central.
  4. How does Winry feel?
  5. Does Alphonse join the military?
  6. The relationship between the Ishbalans and the State Military.
  7. Is Dante dead?
  8. Why does Edward cause Alphone Hiedrich and Hohemheim Elric's sacrifice to be in vain when coming back to Earth.(Makes sense if you watch the film?
  9. What is the ultimate fate of Ed and Al?
  10. Etc.(I'm serious, there's more!)

The main problem is that everything is left to speculation, and while it does leave many people with lots of post film discussion, it leaves even more people disappointed with the lack of questions answered.

In conclusion I feel that if the writers focused on trying to offer more answers than questions, than I would love FMA Conqueror of Shambala. Instead, I'm greatly disappointed by the film. While it's still a great film, it angered me when I discovered that they were in fact, shortening the film. Why they did this is completely beyond me, but I am willing to forgive them since it's a solid entry and finale to the FMA series. So if you want to buy the Blu-Ray edition of this film, be my guest. Hoping that the finale to the manga and FMA Brotherhood is better than this, I sign off as I attempt to heal the editors of the swine flu, using human transmutation of course.

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