Many years after the “Sixty Minute War,” cities survive a now desolate Earth by moving around on giant wheels attacking and devouring smaller towns to replenish their resources.
It’s an adaptation from a graphic novel by British writer-cartoonist Philip Reeve and it takes us 1600 years into the future and drops us into a Europe still trying to recover from a disaster known as the Sixty Minute War.
Way back the 21st century, the Ancients (that’s us, by the way) managed to damage the planet with a weapon so gruesomely fast and efficient that when its work was done, the world’s nations had to remake themselves from the ground up.
That led to the creation of so-called “traction cities” which roll around countries and continents on giant caterpillar tracks, swallowing up their less powerful neighbours.
The citizens of these traction cities are then turned into slaves and everything they own is gobbled up by their conquerors.
Directed by Christian Rivers and with a screenplay by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson, it is based on the novel of the same name by Philip Reeve, and stars Hugo Weaving, Hera Hilmar, Robert Sheehan, Jihae, Ronan Raftery, Leila George, Patrick Malahide, and Stephen Lang.
Tom (Robert Sheehan) is a young Londoner who has only ever lived inside his travelling hometown, and his feet have never touched grass, mud or land.
His first taste of the outside comes quite abruptly: Tom gets in the way of an attempt by the masked Hester (Hera Hilmar) to kill Thaddeus Valentine (Hugo Weaving), a powerful man she blames for her mother’s murder, and both Hester and Tom end up thrown out of the moving traction city, to fend for themselves
The film has been described as “sci-fi Dickens” and “Victorian steampunk”.
Mortal Engines is a huge, visually awesome action movie with perfect pace and a genuine emotional core and author Reeve said “There are many changes to the characters, world, and story, but it’s still fundamentally the same thing:”
The film has no shortage of eye-catching special effects, but lacks enough high-octane narrative fuel to give this futuristic fantasy sufficient cinematic combustion.