Films that are mainly aimed at the younger generation often fails to pick its momentum when, instead of developing the story and giving a certain dynamic to it, it turns the entire piece into a romantic film to show us how good it is to be in love. “Mortal Engines” is a novel by Philip Reeve that’s been adapted for the big screen by Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. Direction by Christian Rivers is an absolutely different type of futuristic sci-fi drama that does not really care about who will get the last kiss or who in the end gets its happy ending, but rather concentrates on a greater cause that leads this film towards a really impressive conclusion which, I must say, was an absolute pleasure to watch from the start to the end.
Set in a post-apocalyptic world in which the newer generation must ride cities on wheels and consume each other to survive, it seems nothing worthy is left in the world. However, the fight for the power continues when great archeologist, Thaddeus Valentine (Hugo Weaving), develops a powerful weapon that will give him an immersive power on the prevalent world, if the world itself will be lucky enough to survive that is. Two young people, Hester Shaw (extremely gifted Hera Hilmar) and Tom (Robert Sheehan), learn about Valentine’s plan and attempt to prevent it at a cost far greater than the two can afford paying. As the two realize that the remaining existence of humanity is in great danger, they team up with the Anti-Traction League to save humanity from destroying itself.
The opening sequence of “Mortal Engines” is absolutely mind-blowing. As soon as it starts, we meet Hester Shaw, who is yet to reveal about herself and why she became a rebellion. Tom works at the London Museum where all the destroyed belongings of the 21st century is being preserved, and one of them is the little statue of minions which, I am sure, will make everyone laugh. Tom, after having a brief chat with Katherine, Valentine’s daughter, meets her father. Always being a big admirer of him, he feels important to intervene when he notices how a woman in mask is about to attack him. But soon the man will regret about it after learning the conspiracy he plots against London and its people.
Atop the whole of London sits St Paul Cathedral, the only building that happened to survive the Sixty Minute War. But the biggest war is yet to come and the same building is about to play the main role, I am sure, you will be anxious to learn about. As the story progresses, you will fall in love with each character. I’ve never seen all the characters in a post-apocalyptic drama written in such an immersive, interesting and exciting way. We literally learn so much about them, like they are either our neighbors, friends or colleagues. You will find yourself rooting for everyone, even for Shrike, the dead creature that has developed a special bond with Hester. I wish there was another film that would specifically talk about that dynamic relationship.
In the end, the film itself is beautiful, visually stunning. Special effects are impressive. Everything you see before your eyes is worthwhile seeing. It is, indeed, a film made for the viewers who not only love watching quality cinema but the story as well. There’s no way you could easily forget about this film the next day. It has a lasting impact on every viewer. It delivers an enriched concept full of surprises. It’s intelligent and does not fool around with the viewers. It has a heart and soul, great intention, and a meaningful purpose to serve. The entire cast delivers to keep the standards as high as possible. And you will notice the amazing job they did by telling such an important story as “Mortal Engines” and to convey message why we people must be careful when it comes to testing new technology if we know nothing about it.