Movie Review – Mortal Engines


Are you currently playing Fallout ’76 and thinking to yourself, ‘This could use more Giant Tank Cities roaming the post-apocalyptic wasteland’? If you are that very small niche demographic then you are in luck with the latest Peter Jackson film heading into cinemas delivering just that with Mortal Engines.

Set as far in the future as it takes to make a 1,000-year-old Twinkie, Mortal Engines is a steampunk’esque future where nations have turned themselves into city-sized tanks to roam the desolate wastelands. When we say city-sized tanks, the scale cannot be underestimated. The smaller ones are like if Devastator was an urban planner and the larger ones make the Star Destroyer at the beginning of Episode IV look like a canoe.

Based on the book series with the same name the film is an adaption of the first of the 4 books by Phillip Reeve. In the world of Mortal Engines cities do battle, often with harpoons, chewing each other up to harvest fuel to keep themselves going. This is our jumping on point for the film, with our main protagonist being on a small mining town which is absorbed by the tank known as Great Britain captained by Agent Smith/Hugo Weaving.

Much like in Fallout items of value in this universe come from the past with Archeologists and Historians savaging what they can for their ‘cities’. From Toasters to more sought after weapons and energy technology, there is status from a working knowledge of the past. This no doubt accounts for the Steampunk-inspired design for transport.

The first thing you have to know about this film is that it is LOUD. This film about giant tanks is probably as far from the little book of calm as you can possibly be. The special effects quality is mesmerizing with the transforming cities as they open/transform which is not surprising considering Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital (responsible for everything from Infinity War to LOTR) was involved with the film.

The next thing you need to know is this film is huge. Not just in scale but the amount going on. While self-contained in a single 2 hour and 8-minute movie, we could have easily seen this film being broken into more than one instalment. And given Peter Jackson wrote the screenplay, we are more than a little surprised there wasn’t a 20-minute sequence just on the Algae tea.

So should you go see it? Let’s be honest, there is a lot of movies coming out between now and the end of the year all looking for your cinema bucks so you want to make sure you are seeing films that you need to see in the cinema. Mortal Engines is one of those films. From the floor shaking sound to the massive scale of the cities, you need to see this on the biggest screen you can find. We are not saying you should see it at the only open IMAX in Australia, but the only IMAX in Australia is also currently playing it and aren’t tickets to Melbourne pretty cheap?

Mortal Engines is out in Cinemas across Australia from December 6th

Story and Characters
Visuals and Effects
Enjoyment Factor
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