Set in a post-apocalyptic world, Mortal Engines is an action-adventure movie, based on the book of the same name. So what is it all about? Set quite far into the future, where people from the 21st century are known as ‘ancients' and museum artifacts include items such as mobile phones and toasters, the world has changed beyond all recognition. Cities are no longer fixed places and instead sit on top of gigantic machines that roam the planet consuming anything of value. That includes smaller cities. It's pretty much a dog-eat-dog world.
London is one of these vast machines with thousands of people living on it. The inhabitants are divided into tiers with the wealthiest living in Tier 1. Running London is Magnus Crome, the Lord Mayor. But it's his deputy mayor, Thaddeus Valentine who pulls most of the strings. But Mr. Valentine is not a very nice man and quite quickly into Mortal Engines we discover that he previously murdered an archaeologist named Pandora Shaw, leaving her then 8-year-old daughter behind. But now Hester (Hera Hilmar) is all grown up and she wants revenge.
Her failed attempt to assassinate Valentine leaves her stranded in the outlands. With only the company of Tom Natsworthy, a young London historian, the duo must now survive the perilous world and fight to both stay alive and stop Thaddeus Valentine from starting a war. Tom (Robert Sheehan from Umbrella Academy) must adapt quickly and with the help of Jihae, an anti-traction war pilot, the team must outwit and outrun the machine that is London.
Mortal Engines is more of a fantasy adventure movie but one that has quite a decent plot, even if some questions are left a little unanswered. Running at about two hours, it has enough pace to keep you interested, though the ending is quite predictable. It has all the elements of a decent action movie and is visually very impressive. However, it just felt very much like a tween movie. Like if Mad Max had been made for kids. And it definitely reminded me of The Dark Tower – an underrated but better film.
Some folks are obsessed with reviews. I measure a film by whether I liked it or not. Plot theory suggests that there are no (more) original plots, all being a pastiche of earlier works. As such, all works contain some plagiarism. For me, acting and direction are important, but a good romp comes out on top, every time. Witness the penultimate episode of warriors “Enter the Dragon”. The Bruce Lee “parallels” are direct copies of the film of the same name. Did I like that? You betcha!!