BEM: Become Human - The Movie review, feature image

Review: BEM: Become Human – The Movie (Blu-Ray)

BEM: Become Human – The Movie takes an interesting theatrical swing at continuing the latest TV series’ narrative on the big screen.

Set two years after the events of the 2019 TV series, BEM: Become Human – The Movie sees Bem living the life he always dreamed of as an ordinary person living an ordinary, corporate life replete with picket fences, a wife and children. In fact, his life is so ordinary he has no memory of his past, seemingly existing in a perfect microcosm of 50s Americana lashed with the cleanest CBD and non-confrontational corporate offices possible. But as Bem’s seemingly idle life continues, flashbacks from an unknown past continue to resonate, threatening to upend his entire worldview and impact all of those around him.

BEM: Become Human - The Movie review, Bem as a corporate man

Much like Yashahime, I was wholly unfamiliar with the prequel TV series’ for BEM: Become Human – The Movie, figuring the premise seemed interesting and that my view as a newcomer may be of interest for others in a similar spot. Note the plural – BEM’s first anime adaptation was way back in 1968, which was then rebooted in 2006 and (presumably) rebooted again in 2019, the latter of which is the direct predecessor to this movie. In practice I don’t think my lack of exposure heavily impacted my engagement with it, but the rapid pace when working through flashbacks certainly made my brain synapses fire a little harder than usual to keep up with it.

As such, BEM: Become Human – The Movie is generally pretty successful in setting up an interesting, self-contained story as it brings you up to speed reasonably well with the cast with ample flashback sequences to fill in the gaps.

It’s core strength in this regard is it’s ability to build a tightly focused story. None of it is terribly original, from the Truman Show/Wayward Pines vibe (which was a real highlight), shady multinational corporate entity and hardline-detective elements, but it combines tried and true elements with a strong set of (at times gory) production values to realise a movie that’s fun and adds to the broader BEM universe.

BEM: Become Human - The Movie review, Bela working at a restaurant

The pacing worked in its favour, with the slow, steady first act indulging in suburban family life fantasy, all of which gets challenged in the second act. The finale throws all the budget with a spectacular series of setpieces that show off some fantastic and dynamic choreography and at times harkens back to the apocalyptic battles sequences that made the whole anime scene back in the 90s so interesting.

For the local Blu-Ray release of BEM: Become Human – The Movie we have the movie presented with a great transfer, a solid audio mix that make the ‘splosions satisfying and includes some welcome bonuses, including a quick recap of the TV series to fill in the blanks. As a Funimation release, it also means it has the lovely cardboard outer slipcase which is always a nice touch.

BEM: Become Human - The Movie review, Bem's boss

BEM: Become Human – The Movie is not going to set the bar for contemporary theatrical anime, but its fusion of familiar elements and the strong way it builds off the preceding TV series without demanding viewer familiarity with the source material makes it an easy introduction to this universe with some great animation production.

Radness scale:

A review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment to the author for the purpose of this review.