Mortal Engines Review: A movie that does no justice to the book
2020 is over and everyone is quite thankful that it did. But post-apocalyptic movies never get old. Are you someone who loves these movies?
Netflix is back with another one. “Mortal engines” is here to give you some post-apocalyptic feels. But afraid of binge-watching something that is not for you? This review will help you decide if it is a hard pass for you or your next great watch?
Mortal Engines: Plot
It’s a post-apocalyptic world. The sixty-minute war caused major geographical disarray, and now we have cities on wheels. We acquire visuals of London city along with its prominent structures with huge engines and wheels moving freely. The bottom line is this, cities ambush and engulfs each other to survive in the outland. It is indeed the survival of the fittest.
The opening scene just lays out the ‘what to expect from the movie.’ Under the leadership of Thaddeus Valentine (Hugo Weaving), London on wheels is taking down a small Bavarian town called Salzhaken absorbing all of its resources and old tech for its own advantage.
Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmer) gets on board during all of this with a motive to kill Valentine. Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan) an apprentice historian is sent to London’s gut along with Katherine Valentine (Leila George) daughter of Thaddeus Valentine to take a look at the newly acquired loot.
It is here that Hester makes a move on Thaddeus Valentine but Tom intervenes and chases her in a disassembling Salzhaken all the way up to the chute. Before jumping down the chute, Hester reveals to Tom that Valentine had murdered her mother and she just lost her chance at him. When Tom discloses to Valentine what Hester just told him, Valentine pushes Tom down the chute.
Hester and Tom work together to find and get back to London. They encounter various hurdles on their way including scavs on a night hunt, resurrected men Shirke, and get taken to a slave market. Amidst their chaos, they encounter Anti-Traction League Agent Anna Fang who has been looking for Hester ever since her mother’s death.
Together they embark on a journey revealing and learning secrets of the past and about Hester Shaw’s mother Pandora Shaw. All this while Valentine has had his plan come into action and has built something unimaginable. It gives a befitting climax for the viewers building up to the final showdown with some astute and intriguing action.
Mortal Engines: Strong plot but Weak characters
A movie is made up of plots. A good plot makes a good movie. And a good character makes the plots better. The plot arguably is not very complicated with the right amounts of conspiracy and intriguing twirls woven together. With a comparatively fresh pair of casts, the actors were reasonably up to scratch, but given the demand of the plot and with the world that had been built up around them, it wasn’t a fairly strong impact that they were able to make.
They got their respective roles and it was a decent payback to it. It was not one of the ‘characters that you would always remember’ kinda performance. Don’t get us wrong the acting is satisfactory but for someone who is a bad guy in the movie, Hugo wasn’t able to deliver that strong impact as a villain, or for Hester, you won’t be able to give her the ticks for being a real heroic figure.
Mortal Engines: The book
The book by the same name ‘Mortal Engines’ was published way back in 2001 by British author Philip Reeve. Setting aside the fact that the book was released long back before the movie came into being, you cannot deny the fact that it still holds certain elements to the present current state scenarios.
May it be the philosophy of Municipal Darwinism where a technological ecosystem consumes other smaller cities for their survival or to put in other words ‘for their own benefits’. Or for the fact how Mayor Magnus complains that they should never have had gone into Europe, sending those snarky giggles to all the Brexit supporters.
Even in a post-apocalyptic world, where cities seem to be newborn and more contemporary, the class system is still alive and you can experience how deep-rooted it actually is in our world today.
Mortal Engines: Choose Book over the movie
Where there is a book made into a movie there is always this discussion. Which one was better? Leaving books as the better option for bibliophiles and the movie as better for the cinephile, the fact that there are four books just gives more hope to the fans of the movie.
The screen time arguably was very less to put forward such a different world which works in its own way in front of us. Also offering us less time to spend with the characters on screen. But only if they do decide to go forward into making the rest of the novels into an onscreen cinematic universe will they be able to do justice or even hype up and bring competition to other similar cinematic universes.
Mortal Engines: Conclusion
The undeniably distinctive feature of ‘Mortal Engines’ is the way the whole new post-apocalyptic world has been presented. The fantasy elements are fun and imaginative. They are full of interesting details, locations, and sundry tones. There was much creativity involved, a lot of effort taken, and quite a lot of money spent as well. For a movie that was made on such a huge budget, it performed disappointingly at the box office though.
From the makers of ‘The Hobbit’ and the ‘The Lord Of The Rings’, ‘Mortal Engines’ is another out of this world work. For all your action and adventure fanatics, this is an appreciable watch. It is a promising movie, one for the future.
Mortal Engines: Ratings
Background score: 3/5
Overall rating: 5.5/10
More from the Author: