West Meets East

Mortal Engines

This Film gets a Rating of 6.5 out of 10 

Director: Christian Rivers

Cast: Hugo Weaving, Hera Hilmar, Robert Sheehan, Ronan Raftery, StephenLang, Patrick Malahide, Colin Salmon

In Mortal Engines, large traction cities such as London (left) hunt down and devour smaller traction towns (right) to strip them of their labor and resources. The film is directed by Christian Rivers, and written by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson based on the novel by Philip Reeve.

Mortal Engines is a PeterJackson produced steampunk epic fantasy featuring a large cast of mostly lesserknown actors which sparkles in originality although at times director Christian Rivers directs too simplistically using lots of flashback sequences.

Jihae as outlaw Anna Fang in Mortal Engines. The film is directed by Christian Rivers, and written by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson based on the novel by Philip Reeve.

The production design is mesmerizing in Mortal Engines,a story about a dystopian future in which whole cities devour lesser cities ina bid for supremacy and survival on a ravaged planet earth set in the 31stcentury. The main city is a steampunk version of Victorian London complete withSt Paul’s Cathedral and a London Museum with a twisted Gothic design, even showcasing the Screen Age: personal computers and smartphones from a bygone era.

The traction city of London in Mortal Engines. The film is directed by Christian Rivers, and written by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson based on the novel by Philip Reeve.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert star Hugo Weaving plays Thaddeaus Valentine an evil London city administrator who feels nothing at eliminating anyone who gets in his way. Robert Sheehan (Geostorm) plays Tom Natsworthy, a reluctant city boy who gets caught up in an adventure when hemeets Hester Shaw played by Hera Hilmar (Anna Karenina, The Fifth Estate) who boards the moving city of London to avenge her mother Pandora’s untimely death.

Lovers of original fantasy will admire Mortal Engines, although director Christian Rivers could have edited the film in parts to keep it below two hours. 

(from left) Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar) and Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan) aboard the airship Jenny Haniver in Mortal Engines. The film is directed by Christian Rivers, and written by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson based on the novel by Philip Reeve.

The action sequences are fantastic and despite the flashback scenes, Mortal Engines does keep the viewer engaged and will definitely be perfect for a holiday movie outing although its overall effect is not as overwhelming as one would expect.

(from left) Hugo Weaving as Thaddeus Valentine, Robert Sheehan as Tom Natsworthy and Leila George as Katherine Valentine in Mortal Engines. The film is directed by Christian Rivers, and written by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson based on the novel by Philip Reeve.

What didn’t work in the film was having so many lesser known actors starring in a film which desperately needed some balancing star power to give the film some gravitas especially as a counterpoint to Hugo Weaving’s megalomaniac character Valentine who is intent on annihilating a static Oriental city in the East.

Mortal Engines gets a film rating of 6.5 out of 10 and while is modestly enjoyable, it’s not a brilliant film despite its original dystopian theme.

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