BEM: Become Human (2020) follows on directly from the series but you could probably pick up the movie and have a different but equally enjoyable experience – how exactly it would differ probably strays into spoiler territory, though.
Immediately, the higher budget (and change to Production IG) for the film was clear, with more detail, bigger battles and overall smoother animation across the board (esp transformations and action) than the short series.
There are also subtle changes in character design and a narrowing of focus when it came to the story too – this is very much Bem’s tale. For me, that was both a strength and a weakness to the film, as Bela is sidelined and Belo only gets a bit of action, but overall the most screen time (and impact) comes from Bem’s struggle.
On the other hand, having the three leads separated does add some dramatic tension.
The main theme of what does it mean to be human? is still front and centre, allowing Bem’s backstory to sneak into his search for truth about himself and the city he seems to be trapped within.
In regard to the setting, it was perhaps the other stand out for me – I found it fascinating how much it reminded me of the original Westworld, Stepford Wives or the Truman Show perhaps. Since pretty much the whole city is in on the deception, there was a great sense that everyone was a villain or at least, untrustworthy.
I will say that I wished there had been time for the movie to do a little more with the relationship between Bem and his ‘wife’ perhaps, and I’ve already mentioned not enjoying the lack of attention given to the supporting cast (Sonia gets more time than the others) but overall, I’m glad I stumbled across the series and, in turn, the movie.
Definitely for fans of the supernatural or perhaps late 1960s manga.