Based on a popular book series, Mortal Engines, produced by Peter Jackson, is an epic dystopian movie where a cataclysmic event wiped out the world and now, the remaining people live on giant, mobile cities. Yea, you read that right. Cities, on wheels, that want to take over other mobile cities for its resources. In the current extravagant Hollywood spending craze, you may be forgiven for thinking that the movie’s production budget would at least be $200 million. It “only” costs $100 million and Universal is definitely hoping to make sequels and reinvigorate the YA genre.
Positives – The visuals in this movie are great, for the most part. The movie starts off with an intense action scene where London, one of the big cities or “predator cities”, is trying to take over a bunch of little cities for its resources, and it was quite exciting! In fact, there are a handful of other action sequences that looked great and are pretty enjoyable to watch. One of the best parts about the movie is the world-building and I was genuinely interested in being a part of and exploring more of this world. That’s where the positives end, unfortunately.
Negatives – The movie is all visuals without much, if any, substance to it. The script is very poorly written, the dialogue is quite atrocious, but the biggest issue with the movie is that it’s just really dull and boring, even with all the bombastic noises on screen. It doesn’t help that the characters aren’t well-realized and a couple of storylines end up bogging the movie down. I would have totally forgot the main character’s name if it wasn’t for a Dr. Doom-esque robot creepily uttering her name every other sentence. The character are that forgettable… The subplots with Valentine’s daughter and Bevis, or the sequences with the robot and Hester end up being unnecessary or feel disjointed from the main story. On top of that, the filmmakers force a romance between the 2 main leads, Hester and Tom, and it is rushed. This movie is also extremely predictable without any surprising twists and turns, making the experience quite one note. Mortal Engines also wastes a lot of time in settings that don’t forward the story, which just drags the movie.
Final Verdict – You’re better off watching Mad Max: Fury Road or Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit over Mortal Engines. A cool premise with great visuals can’t get a recommendation from me, however.
Rating – 2/5.