Mortal Engines

Mortal Engines

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Set in a post-apocalyptic world, Mortal Engines sees cities that ride on wheels consuming smaller cities to survive. But in London, a young girl is out for vengeance as she tracks down the man that murdered her mother.

If it's an action-adventure fantasy that you want, then look no further than Mortal Engines.

Mortal Engines is a visually stunning dystopian adventure film based on the novel of the same name by Philip Reeve.

Set in a post-apocalyptic world where cities have become giant predator machines on wheels, the film takes place hundreds of years after civilisation's collapse.

These mobile cities roam the desolate Earth, devouring smaller towns to replenish their resources.

What Is Mortal Engines About?

Set quite far into the future, where people from the 21st century are known as ‘ancients' and museum artefacts include items such as mobile phones and toasters, the world has changed beyond all recognition.

Towns are no longer fixed places and instead, sit on top of giant predator city on wheels 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.

However, 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 Shaw (Hera Hilmar) is a mysterious young woman and 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 Official Trailer

Is Mortal Engines Worth Watching?

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.

The film's most remarkable aspect is its visually stunning and meticulously crafted world. The massive moving cities are brought to life with exceptional detail and awe-inspiring visual effects.

The action sequences are dynamic and thrilling, showcasing intense battles between the mobile cities and heart-pounding chases and daring escapes.

Plus, the cast delivers solid performances, with Hera Hilmar bringing depth and vulnerability to her portrayal of Hester Shaw. Robert Sheehan provides an endearing charm as Tom Natsworthy, and Hugo Weaving delivers a captivating performance as the film's antagonist, Thaddeus Valentine.

While Mortal Engines has an intriguing premise and breathtaking visuals, it falls short in terms of character development and pacing. Some characters feel underdeveloped, and certain plot elements may leave audiences wanting more depth and exploration.

Additionally, the film's pacing can be uneven, with moments of excitement occasionally interspersed with slower narrative sections.

Despite its flaws, Mortal Engines is worth watching for its visually stunning world-building and thrilling action. 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.

Is Mortal Engines Just The First Book?

Yes, the movie Mortal Engines is the film adaptation of the first book in the Mortal Engines Quartet series by Philip Reeve, also titled Mortal Engines.

The film primarily adapts the events and characters from the first novel but also incorporates elements from the later books in the series to some extent.

While the movie draws heavily from the first book, it does not cover the entire series.

Mortal Engines Movie Cast

Mortal Engines has an incredibly impressive production clue including director Christian Rivers, and a screenplay by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson (who is also a producer, alongside Amanda Walker).

But irrespective of how well-written a movie is, it has to have a great cast…

Hera Hilmar as Hester Shaw. A young woman seeking revenge against Thaddeus Valentine. Hester joins forces with Tom.

Robert Sheehan as Tom Natsworthy. An apprentice historian who crosses paths with Hester Shaw and joins her on a dangerous journey.

Hugo Weaving as Thaddeus Valentine. A powerful and ruthless leader in the city of London.

Jihae as Anna Fang, a resistance fighter and leader of the Anti-Traction League.

Leila George as Katherine Valentine, Thaddeus Valentine's daughter, who becomes entangled in the conflict.

Ronan Raftery as Bevis Pod, a historian and loyal follower of Thaddeus Valentine.


  • Visually Stunning
  • Robert Sheehan Excellent Again
  • Good Concept


  • Predictable Ending
  • Made For The Tween Audience
  • Plot Holes


1 Comment

  1. 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!!


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