Movie Review: Mortal Engines
Updated: May 27, 2019
‘In a post-apocalyptic world where cities ride on wheels and consume each other to survive, two people meet in London and try to stop a conspiracy. ‘
IMDb 6.2/10 Rotten Tomatoes 27% Metacritic 44
Hera Hilmar (Anna Karenina, Da Vinci’s Demons)
Robert Sheehan (Umbrella Academy, Bad Samaritan, Mortal Instruments)
Hugo Weaving (Lord of the Rings, The Matrix)
Mortal Engines is a highly stylized steampunk fantasy novel brought to the screen by the team that brought us Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit including Peter Jackson himself. As with the Lord of the Rings franchise it visually brings a lot to the table and brings it to the audience very quickly from the onset of the movie.
Hugo’s character Valentine is set on finding some Old-Tech in an effort to create a massive super-weapon that is meant to obliterate the opposition without any thought. The movie then revolves around the completion and use of the weapon and to the fight to disable it and Hugo’s massive city before they can break through the Shield Wall and the lands beyond to continue their destruction and pillaging.
They set the scene well within the steampunk world, costuming and set design is quite solid. There are a large number of action scenes both with the cast and also dealing with the technology presented with various mobile cities, airships and the like. The CGI was warranted with the setting of the film and it wasn’t overdone from my point of view and was done well baring in mind that I am very hard on CGI usage and how its presented.
What the movie lacks is focus on the ideas that are presented to the audience and throws a tonne of plot points but doesn’t really concentrate on any one in specific. The visuals seem to try to wash over the idea that there isn’t any major focus. There were a number of story points that get dropped into the film and feel like they just needed to extend the screen time of the film. Perhaps in the pages of the novel they delve into them more but it felt they were just trying to hit the bullet points without expanding on them properly
If you are in for a post-apocalyptic film then it may very well be up your alley for that genre.
It sensationalizes the idea of war and dominating the lower class of the steampunk society as the population of one city is at the rails cheering as they chase down another city to be consumed and used a fuel for their own. It however doesn’t stand out as much as a Mad Max (the original of course) or Escape from New York.
The Mountain Man’s final thoughts are that I was pulled in by the concept to watch it especially with the team that brought it to the big screen. But I was quickly let down by the unfocused direction of the film. Hugo Weaving drops a couple good quick lines as he tends to do and even he couldn’t pull it from the brink of being a poor film overall. If you are looking for a good story and a good progression you would probably be better off just reading the novel and leaving the film to sit on the shelves of stores like Walmart.
2 Beards out of 5