IMDb Rating: 6.9/10
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Director: Christian Rivers
Release Date: 14 December 2018
Star Cast: Hera Hilmar, Hugo Weaving, Jihae
The opening scene does a fine job of laying the groundwork for the politics and the scale of the film. But the moment Rivers momentarily abandons the spectacular for the intimate, the film begins to go downhill. Its politics starts getting murkier and more confusing, before plummeting into the comfortingly derivative by the end. Mortal Engines starts off as an imaginative allegory for colonialism’s bottomless hunger for resources and the implications of the literal march of ‘progress’. Soon, allusions to Hitler’s avowal of unending war and the race for the East start creeping in. It’s only a matter of time before the lines begin to be drawn all too clearly, Huntington’s clash of civilisations gets a shoo-in and Hollywood takes over for the finale.
The writing, the dialogue in particular, is sterile at best, plodding forward a story that labours visibly hard to make sense of the immensity of the world borrowed from Philip Reeve’s books that it adapts to screen. Make no mistake, the world of Mortal Engines is beautiful to behold. The CGI, for once, conjures a plentiful land of contrasts, from the floating settlements to the cities rolling ahead through the mud.