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FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST BROTHERHOOD: THE SACRED STARS OF MILOS -- DVD REVIEW

What shocking stories lurk behind the scenes of this movie?

My opinion about SACRED STARS OF MILOS hasn’t changed much, at all, since I reviewed it earlier this year. It felt like a half season of plot squeezed into a two hour feature and, while that did lead to a breathless supply of nearly non-stop expository dialog, it was still a properly-thrilling roller coaster ride by curtain call. It made the prospect of further one-off, sort-of canonical adventures with Ed & Al seem not only doable, but also quite appealing.

In this disc’s “Making of” featurette (more on that below,) the movie’s trio of producers muses on how FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST has basically been in continuous production for eight straight years and, again, I’ll reassert my confidence that this won’t likely be the last stop for that particular gravy train.

If you want my thoughts on the flick, go on and read my review. It still stands.

I could try to go on about the picture and sound quality of this disc but, c'mon, that’d be a little pointless. For one, I don’t have the technical expertise, or the vocabulary, of our compadres at Tested. Also, let’s be honest - - most of us never think about mumbo jumbo like sampling rates, picture compression and sound fidelity when watching a movie unless there’s something distractingly wrong with them. So, stated succinctly, the disc plays, sounds and looks just right.

Although, watching it again with a little more distance, I can’t help but notice how different the rendering style is from what’s been used in the previous iterations of FMA. Even though this is BROTHERHOOD: THE MOVIE, for all intents and purposes, the producer trio’s intention (as stated in that featurette, again) was to make a “third version” of this mythos, and that intention does play out rather effectively. The animation’s more frenetic and less polished, to be sure, but that amounts to just a different experience, not a lesser one.

How about those special features?

The aforementioned featurette is the shiniest bell (or the loudest whistle, if you prefer,) an hour-long doc that gives a basic overview of the production without delving too deep into any one particular stage. It almost felt more like a wedding video package - - a recording of an event to be shared privately with only those involved. And the comprehensively curious fan, of course.

Technical comments are warranted here, actually, because one technical choice is rather painfully distracting. The white captions and footnotes from the original Japanese release have been left in so, as you’d expect, the white subtitles get damn near impossible to read during the frequent points of overlap. Scratch off a point here for how a more agreeable, colored font wasn’t picked.

Anyway, the wedding video comparison applies just as well to the #2 Most Appealing Feature - - a full length commentary track with various members of the voice cast and ADR team. “Commentary track” maybe isn’t the best term for it, actually. Nobody actually comments on what’s happening on screen from moment to moment. It’s really more a platform for actors and crew to say some final statements on their experience with the show, on the whole, after they maybe didn’t have a proper place to do so on the last box set. A good and interesting listen, for sure, but a feature that’s better enjoyed during your usual podcast time than while watching this flick on the coach.

After all this, you’ve got TV, theatrical and web trailers to show the comprehensively curious fan the movie they’ve just watched in smaller chunks. They've actually separated the Japanese and American versions into their own sections, so it's actually even that much more comprehensive.

As you can sense, this set doesn’t carry the biggest treasure chest of bonus features, but that honestly isn’t much of a minus. By all appearances, this production was a pretty straightforward affair, so there isn't much sense in trying to jack up any of the behind-the-scenes stuff when the movie's properly adequate entertainment on its own.

Well, maybe not entirely on its own. As I said back then, this isn't the best entry point for those yet to be initiated into the world of FMA, but it also isn't the kind of after-thought cash grab that a lot of die hard fans have dismissed it as. If the featurette gets one message across, it's that the crew really did take this seriously. If you didn't catch SACRED STAR OF MILOS in theaters, you'd be remiss not give this a look now that it's so much more easily accessible.

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of HYBRID BASTARDS! & UNIMAGINABLE. Order them on Amazon here & here. Follow him on Twitter: @tompinchuk

sickVisionz moderator on April 11, 2012 at 7:27 p.m.

The animation’s more frenetic and less polished, to be sure, but that amounts to just a different experience, not a lesser one.

Wait, so it's worse than the tv series? Are you saying that or do you mean there is a lot of speed lines and stuff like this:

No_name_here staff on April 12, 2012 at 1:11 p.m.

@sickVisionz: Some of that, yeah. It's rendered more like the KILL BILL anime sequence.

Dig Deeper into Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood - The Sacred Stars of Milos

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood - The Sacred Stars of Milos is the movie based upon the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood series which ended in 2010.

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