Mortal Engines – A Film Review

Mortal Engines is an adaptation of a book by Philip Reeve and adapted to the screen by Peter Jackson and the team behind Lord of the Rings. This film is a lot of fun and totally nuts.

The premise is that in the far future the world suffered an apocalypse that resulted in major cities becoming massive tank like vehicles charge around a mostly flat world attacking and gobbling each other up for resources. There is a shangri-la place of anti-tractionist people protected by a massive wall and air fleet.

Our protagonists are the daughter of an archaeologist, a trainee historian, an aeronaut, an heir and a low level grunt. In fact there are a lot of characters in the lead with two primaries. The film had a lot of exposition in it to explain the details of what has happened and what is important, because of this a lot of the character introductions do not match their subsequent importance.

The two leads are covered well but the daughter of the antagonist and her partner in crime were barely needed in the story. In a book this probably worked but in a film not so much many characters were not fully fleshed out. I think a short Netflix series would have been better.

There is some great action scenes, great effects and some great set pieces. There are moments of heart and emotion but the impact of this is lost in too many ideas trying to be filled out in too short a time.

As a one of sci-fi film with action and some interesting, if crazy, ideas this is worth a watch but I feel that on the whole the film underachieved on its potential.

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