Review: ‘Mortal Engines’ is running on fumes



Movie poster of Mortal Engines.

Sam Lucio

Originally a book of the same name written by Philip Reeve, famed “Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson produced this movie and his longtime storyboard artist, Christian Rivers made his directorial debut.

I went into this movie knowing almost nothing about what this movie was and what the fictional world was like. After seeing the first trailer in December 2017, I was very intrigued. The trailer was vague and ominous only showing what I would later find out is the main character on a small mobile town being chased by a larger mobile city.

The movie follows the story of Hester Shaw, played by Hera Hilmar, as she is seeking revenge against the man who killed her mother. Hester’s town is captured by the main antagonist city, London, and she finds out that the man who her killed her mother is the leader of London, Thaddeus Valentine, played by Hugo Weaving. Hester stumbles across a young London historian, Tom Natsworthy, played by Robert Sheehan, and through a series of events leave London and are stranded and travel the barren wasteland together.

After seeing the movie, however, I am still left with a lot of unanswered questions. The movie dumps a lot of really interesting lore that they never really explore throughout the 2 hour and 8 minute run time.

That is probably the biggest problem with the movie, the story. The story felt rushed, overly simplified and I could tell that it was an adaptation of a book because of how many details were left out or that were glossed over.

A great example of this is a secondary villain, which chases Hester throughout most of the movie. The villain is presented as having a very important influence over Hester’s upbringing, but the delivery of that subplot has so little weight that I felt like it was completely useless.

At the end of the movie, once the main plot came to a conclusion, I said to myself, “okay, so what?” That could be said for most of the movie, as I felt like the plot had little to no meaning. The movie is a typical one where the good guys defeat the bad guys with little in between.

Despite this, however, the visual effects are simply outstanding. I felt like the visual effects were the main attraction of the movie and were truly something to marvel at.

The mobile cities are magnificent and intimidating in the way they are presented. You can really get a feel of how massive they are compared to everything else, as evidenced by the main characters walking in the treadmarks left behind which looks like small mountains in comparison.

Asides from land vehicles, they are soaring cities above the clouds occupied by airships and large structures heaving through the oceans on spider-like legs as well as untouched utopia-esque cities hidden behind a massive wall to protect themselves from roaming cities such as London.

The world presented in “Mortal Engines” is the true attraction and in my opinion, worth the price of a ticket.

I left “Mortal Engines” wanting more. “Mortal Engines” is not a bad movie but it had so much potential with the way the world is crafted and the story might leave a bad taste in most people’s mouths. Peter Jackson had said prior to “Mortal Engine’s” release that this was supposed to be his next major franchise. But, with only around $73 million grossed worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo, and a projected loss of around $125 million, according to Variety, it is nearly impossible that we will get to revisit the world of “Mortal Engines.”

Rating: 7 out of 10