Fan-chemy: the science of understanding, deconstructing, and reconstructing trailers. However, hype is not an all powerful art. It is impossible to create hype out of nothing; if one wishes to fanboy or fangirl out, something of equal awesomeness must be presented. This is the law of equivalent exchange, the basis for all nerd culture.
No need for a philosopher's stone, folks, #Warner Bros. Japan just transmutated the first teaser trailer of the live action #FullmetalAlchemist movie for all to see! And in the spirit of deconstruction, your friends at Movie Pilot are here to break down every key image from the 30-second trailer in order to reconstruct a better understanding of how the live-action adaptation will be like the anime, and how it might be different. Ready, Al?
Transmutation And Transmutation Circles
The trailer opens by teasing how the deconstruction and reconstruction of matter will look in the live-action adaptation. The scene cuts away before we can see what the hammer, vase, and wood transform into, but the brief glimpse at the process makes it clear that there's a sense of darkness surrounding the controversial science.
That first transmutation circle sketched in the opening shot seems to be fairly amateur, at least compared to the second circle that pops up at about 17 seconds:
The latter circle, which appears to be in Van Hohenheim's study, is much larger and covered in more detailed characters and symbols. It could be that the first circle is one of Edward and Alphonse Elric's earliest attempts at alchemy when they were first learning the science via Hohenheim's books. The second circle could be sketched later and serving to show how far their skills have advanced. Or perhaps the movie changed a certain scene's location from the basement to upstairs, and this could be the circle the Elric brothers used to attempt human transmutation?
The Country Of Amestris
One of the first sprawling shots is of a city that looks an awful lot like the religious town of Liore. Fans will remember Liore as one of the first stops along the Elric brothers' journey in both the original Fullmetal Alchemist series and in Brotherhood, where Ed and Al expose the town prophet as using alchemy to work his so called miracles.
In the original anime, the encounter with Cornello is where Ed's automail limbs and Al's hollow suit of armor are first revealed to the audience, so it's possible that the movie's first act may be following the events of the first few episodes. We also get a shot of a train traveling through the Amestris countryside like the ones the Elric brothers would ride from Central to Liore, among other destinations.
The Brothers Elric
While we don't get to see full body shots of either Edward or Alphonse in the brief teaser, there's enough action shots of Ed to keep us smiling. The above gif sees Edward transmutating in what looks like some sort of town central area. Note that the civilians around him appear to be standing fairly still as if they're watching and are in no particular panic. This scene is reminiscent of when the brothers first arrived in Liore and Al repaired the broken radio using alchemy, only here it's Ed doing the transmutation.
Later we catch a shot of a road being torn up and flowing towards Ed. It's hard to make out from the still, but the deconstructed road appears to be composed of grid-like squares similar to how objects like walls and paths would look in Brotherhood when alchemists created them.
Lastly, we're treated to a full look at the face of Edward Elric, played by Hey! Say! JUMP member Ryosuke Yamada, and the torso of the armor bonded to Alphonse Elric's soul. Alphonse will seemingly be fully CG in the film, likely in an effort to match the iconic look of the anime and manga. Whether the computer-generated Alphonse will look good in the film is too early to call, but what's certain is that his suit of armor looks mighty huggable.
There's one head scratcher thrown in at the very end of the trailer: there seems to be a beast created with alchemy and acting with agency. On paper, that sounds a lot like a chimera or homunculi, but what's pictured in the scene looks different than either of those things. See for yourself:
It's possible that this beast is a sort of abridged, amalgamated version of the chimeras and homunculi meant to pay homage while fitting better within a feature film. Alternatively, it could be something new entirely (be sure to let us know what you think!). Hopefully if it's a chimera it has absolutely nothing to do with Nina and Alexander, because our hearts couldn't bare to watch you know what play out in live action.
From what's present in the trailer, the Fullmetal Alchemist movie appears to be following the #DeathNote live action movie's strategy of staying true to the source material, and not going the #DragonBallEvolution route of literally botching everything. There are still tons of unanswered questions though, like who's playing Alphonse, and if the movie will be the first of a series or a one-and-done story. Rest assured, we'll be searching for answers just as hard as the Elric brothers are searching for a way to get their bodies back.
Until then, check out the trailer again and see if you can construct your own theories!