Mortal Engines

     review by Bobby Blakey

Peter Jackson has cemented himself as an epic filmmaker with bringing his vision of The Lord of The Rings and Hobbit film series to the big screen. Sometime back he unleashed a teaser to his next epic Mortal Engines starring Hugo Weaving, Hera Hilmar and Robert Sheehan, but does it bring something new, original and epic to the big screen or will run out of steam?

Mortal Engines follows thousands of years after civilization was destroyed by a cataclysmic event, where humankind has adapted and a new way of living has evolved. Gigantic moving cities now roam the Earth, ruthlessly preying upon smaller traction towns. Tom Natsworthy who hails from a Lower Tier of the great traction city of London and finds himself fighting for his own survival after he encounters the dangerous fugitive Hester Shaw. Two opposites, whose paths should never have crossed, forge an unlikely alliance that is destined to change the course of the future. I was not overly excited about this film and the trailers didn’t bring much more to it, but I will admit that the strange idea itself was intriguing. As someone that never read the book I knew nothing about this story and to be honest I feel like I still don’t know much more.

The film kicks off pretty epic with the same city on wheels chase sequence from the first trailer setting the tone of it all and I was all in. Sadly from there it kind of gets klunky and all over the place. Anytime the film deals with the action or giant mobile cities it is pretty awesome and screams that epic feel meshing things like the Road Warrior and steam punk, but there is sadly not enough of these elements to keep it from getting lost on itself with little to no overall purpose. There are characters that roam in and out of the story almost forgotten about making some elements left unresolved. Usually I would look at this as build up to more films, but these weren’t important enough elements to really matter in the bigger scope just more wasting time and served little to no purpose.

Hugo Weaving was great as always but given very little to do other than being a generic villain with little to no real reasoning behind his obsession. There is a very small story here surrounded by big set pieces but very little substance at all. There is a strange addition to the later half of the story that features a coolish character but the CGI was not all that great and it didn’t fit in with the rest of the story at all. This entire film is like coming in late to a show and supposed to just know everything as they offer nothing of explain it all.

This would likely work way better as a TV series that allows it to build to something more, but this film is a visually pleasing epic for fans of steampunk in a world that offers very little else. If you read the book then you might enjoy it more as I assume they would have more of an expectation of this world, but beyond that it is more of a miss than worth the ride for me.

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