Verdict: The excellent visual effects make an enjoyable fantasy-adventure.
From the director of the critically acclaimed The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies comes another book-adapted fantasy adventure by Peter Jackson. Co-producing and co-writing the film, he teams up with director Christian Rivers for Mortal Engines. The heavily CGI-ed film is an adaptation of author Philip Reeves’ neo-Victorian steampunk fantasy of the same name.
What’s Mortal Engines About:
The film begins way into the post-apocalyptic future when the Earth has been reduced to a devastated landscape. This ravaged world is the result of the 60-minute war where a terrifyingly powerful fusion weapon wiped out the “ancient world” of the 21st century more than 1,000 years ago. Now, there are tons of mobile settlements called traction cities that roam the barren lands.
These massive tank-like settlements hunt and swallow up smaller mobile communities, enslaving their population and using their materials for fuel. Most importantly, the traction cities scavenge their material for what they call low tech – valuable machinery and technology of the ancient world.
In the biggest and baddest traction city of London, captain Thaddeus Valentine (Hugo Weaving) and mayor Magnus Crome (Patrick Malahide) are unbeatable. However, when the charming but sinister Thaddeus is attacked by a disfigured assassin named Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar), his treacherous intentions come to the surface. As Hester and young historian Tom (Robert Sheehan) cross paths, they discover Thaddeus’ dangerous secret plan. Now they must find all the help they can to prevent the ambitious Thaddeus from starting another all-out war that will threaten the safety of the world.
Mortal Engines is the kind of film that you must experience in the theatre for its grandiose scale and appealing CGI-created massive moving cities. With its steampunk dystopian picture, the film becomes Peter Jackson and Christian Rivers’ entertaining love letter to the fascinating world created by author Philip Reeves. Jackson worked on the script with his longtime collaborators Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens along with direction from Rivers who has worked with him in various special-effects capacities for over 25 years. Together, they’ve created an exciting world that’s a great treat for the senses with plenty of imaginative visuals to look at. Junkie XL’s lofty score blends perfectly into the fantasy.
Over the course of heavy action and visuals, Mortal Engines forms into an exciting pursuit drama that promises and delivers an entertaining climax.
What Could’ve Been Better:
The extensive CGI and the large-scale focus on world building tends to overshadow the actors and their performances. Nonetheless, Mortal Engines still remains a visually entertaining fantasy adventure.
Why You Should Watch:
If there’s ever a fantasy film that requires a theatrical watch, it’s got to be this one. Watch the super exciting and visually appealing Mortal Engines in IMAX for the ultimate experience.