Review of 'Mortal Engines'

mortal_engines.jpg An odd film produced (and written) by Peter Jackson, the director of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films telling an equally odd story based on the young adult books by Philip Reeve.

1,700 years in the future, humanity has risen from a planet devastated by the effects of the use of an apocalyptic “Medusa Quantum” weapon to live in giant wheeled, warring “traction” cities that compete for scarce resources in the “great hunting ground”. Of these cities, “London” is the biggest and most successful roving the planet and “consuming” lesser cities, forcing their inhabitants to immigrate. Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan) is an apprentice historian working at the London Museum who meets street-wise Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar), a former inhabitant of a city consumed by London. When Hester attempts to kill Deputy Lord Mayer Thaddeus Valentine (Hugo Weaving) they are both thrown off of the city. Valentine is power-hungry and determined to have London leave Europe and head East to consume the cities there but there is a wall in the way…Hester and Tom go in search of help to return to London and put a stop to Valentine.

Yeah, sounds absolutely incredible yet somehow it never really gels. The film moves so fast there is little chance to enjoy the absolutely amazing scenery created by the filmmakers which is shame as it only leaves a somewhat basic story and one-dimensional characters. There is the sense that there is much more to the story and, more importantly, the characters that would have greatly added to the depth of the film that is sorely lacking. It seems that more of the book should have been put on the screen, yes, at the risk of alienating those that just want to see amazing things. I have to say that although the premise is completely bonkers it does actually work on the screen when we are given a few scant seconds to appreciate it. It really does look great - Think Howl's Moving Castle crossed with Mad Max (!).

A great opportunity to bring an interesting world to the big screen that somewhat misses it's mark. With only a short time in cinemas it is doubtless that this is the last of the Mortal Engines stories we will see on the big screen for the foreseeable future. If only some of the attention to detail shown on the screen was paid to the characters and the story as well…

Rating: “It is OK but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2019-08-01

Directed by: Christian Rivers

Studio: Media Rights Captial (MRC)

Year: 2018

Length: 128 minutes

Genre: Fantasy