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A fugitive alchemist with mysterious abilities leads the Elric brothers to a distant valley of slums inhabited by the Milos, a proud people struggling against bureaucratic exploitation. Ed and Al quickly find themselves in the middle of a rising rebellion, as the exiled Milos lash out against their oppressors. At the heart of the conflict is Julia, a young alchemist befriended by Alphonse. She’ll stop at nothing to restore the Milos to their former glory – even if that means harnessing the awful power of the mythical Philosopher’s Stone.
The broadcast series Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009) seemed to bring the adventures of Edward and Alphonse Elric to a dramatic and definitive conclusion. But the characters remain so popular that more stories about them were inevitable. The first Fullmetal Alchemist feature, The Conqueror of Shambala (2005), which took place after the first animated series ended, transported Edward to Weimar-era Munich. The events in The Sacred Star of Milos (2011) occur during Hiromu Arakawa's original continuity but at a new location in the familiar Fullmetal universe: the border between Amestris and its western neighbor, Creta. This disputed territory was once the land of Milos; caught between the rival powers, the remaining Milosians live in misery in the ditch-like valley that separates them. The Milosians hope to restore their country with the aid of Julia Chrichton, whose parents' research pushed the boundaries of alchemical knowledge. Any unconventional alchemy attracts the Elric brothers, who are soon caught in a web of interlocking plots and counterplots. Ed and Al learn that the Sacred Star is not a celestial body, but a "sanguine star": a Philosopher's Stone that would enable the wielder to control a vast, subterranean river of lava. Director Kazuya Murata and his crew build a story that feels appropriate for the characters but never impinges on the main storyline of Fullmetal Alchemist. Murata makes good use of CG when Ed and Al battle a wolf-chimera aboard a runaway passenger train, and when a ruined city is revealed to be an enormous, three-dimensional transmutation circle. The Sacred Star of Milos delivers the mixture of fast-paced action, warm human relationships, and broad comedy that fans of Fullmetal Alchemist enjoy and expect. The film leaves the viewer eager for the Elrics' next adventure. (Rated TV 14: violence, grotesque imagery) --Charles Solomon