Mortal Engines

What is the movie about? :: Far into the future, following an event which caused the destruction of most of Earth, cities exist here and there, with people and resources associated with them, and they move on wheels looking for options. Among them are the predator cities which feed on those smaller cities, capturing the people and taking their resources in a world which has nothing much left after that event which ended the normal flow of events. The big predator city of London chasing a small mining town is one of those events that is shown in the beginning itself. Thaddeus Valentine (Hugo Weaving), the man in charge has things going his way, but all of a sudden, a masked lady comes from the group of the people from the captured town and stabs him, only to be stopped from doing the same again by Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan), thus Thaddeus surviving with a wound which could be treated easily.

So, what happens with the events to follow? :: The woman is identified as Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar) who wants to murder Thaddeus who was responsible for killing her own mother and giving her the scar on the left of her face. As she fails in doing the same, Tom chases her, but is thrown out of the city along with her by Thaddeus who suspects that he knows something about his secret past. The two are forced to team up and try to survive together in a world which has nothing to provide hope for people left alone. The scorched grounds leave them with no resources to survive, and they end up being captured by slave traders. While Hester is being displayed on stage and sold to the highest bidder, Anna Fang (Jihae), an outlaw who fights against Thaddeus shows up, and saves her from slavery. Hester escapes with Tom, but someone else shows up.

And what else is to follow here? :: Shrike (Stephen Lang), the last of an undead battalion of soldiers shows up and goes for Hester. Thaddeus counts on the undead soldier to kill her, while she continues running with Tom and Anna. Shrike will not stop until he gets what he wants. It turns out that there is more than what meets the eye about Thaddeus and his own daughter Katherine Valentine (Leila George) figures that out with the help of an apprentice engineer Bevis Pod (Ronan Raftery). There are more evil plans at work, and if they don’t figure out the same soon enough, there is going to be terrible consequences. Thaddeus has a weapon that can make the worst happen, and the seriousness regarding the same won’t be understood by most people, except for our protagonists – but will they be too late with this? Will London gain superiority over each and every other city?

The defence of Mortal Engines :: The visuals are the best thing about this movie. The post-apocalyptic world and the machines are amazingly good, and far above the quality of some of those other flicks which claim to be grand visual treat. The colours are very nicely used, and the world detail gets full marks. You will find the big explosions in the climax to be too good, visually as well as in relation to the sound effects. There are some fine action sequences, and the thrills are present throughout the flick. Even with all these in the front, there seems to be something that lies beneath – the idea about the rich and the powerful feeding on the poor, and the desire for more power and control. One can see how important war becomes, even after there was a destruction of the world which came so close to destroying humanity itself to be replaced by another species.

The claws of flaw :: People might want more to be explained with this movie, and more could have surely been shown directly. The story surely could have used more focus, and the whole world itself could have had some smart explanations. Even the predator cities could have had their parts shown more clearly, and the same could have been part of big fights with other cities all around the world – it would have made the audience more familiar with the idea before the whole thing developed further. Those who are not used to watching this kind of movies won’t be that comfortable – well, this is a movie which has released even outside the main cities, and so that could have helped a lot. The steampunk genre can always use more of everything, as the possibilities are endless that way – genres of fantasy, horror and historical fiction could have been here stronger.

The performers of the soul :: Hera Hilmar as Hester Shaw is surely the one person who steals the show so well, not just with the action sequences, but also with those emotional moments – the scar or the red scarf that hides it elevates the level of her character with the looks itself. She does have a grand introduction too, as that sets the events of the movie going forward in a nice manner. Hugo Weaving plays a powerful villain here, and one has to love his plans regarding the world. Robert Sheehan just got a certain secondary level of job to do in comparison to Hera. Jihae makes some impact with the action scenes. Leila George plays her role in an interesting manner. Meanwhile, you will feel that Stephen Lang’s undead soldier Shrike might be the one character to remember for long.

How it finishes :: Mortal Engines, not to be confused with that terrible Mortal Instruments, will be another interesting visual treat full of action, which you just can’t ignore this weekend. With the other English movie of the weekend being The Possession of Hannah Grace, and Robin Hood already out of the equation, this one should be able to spend some good time out there. It boasts of coming from the makers of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, and that is more than one reason to be hopeful about this particular flick. There is no doubt that it will provide some nice entertainment, and we can only be glad that a sequel can make this even better. Let us have more movies like this one, even better done. We remember Mad Max: Fury Road, and we know where it can go.

Release date: 7th December 2018 (India); 14th December 2018 (USA)
Running time: 128 minutes
Directed by: Christian Rivers
Starring: Hera Hilmar, Hugo Weaving, Robert Sheehan, Jihae, Ronan Raftery, Leila George, Patrick Malahide, Stephen Lang, Colin Salmon, Mark Mitchinson, Menik Gooneratne, Mark Hadlow, Kee Chan, Sophie Cox, Caren Pistorius

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

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