Mortal Engines is written and produced by Peter Jackson along with Fran Walsh and Phillipa Boyens who also worked together on the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings movies though Christian Rivers is the director here, the story takes place in a dystopian future where cities are now in wheels in order to survive after a 60 minute War destroyed the world and a man named Valentine (Hugo Weaving) is keen to complete a top secret energy project that may hold the key to defending the future.
Mortal Engines has some terrific visual effects and world building, the world presented here for starters is really good the cities on wheel look great and the tracks they leave behind are like mazes for humans to walk through with the giant walls and the soft ground that is left for people to drink to stave off dying of thurst plus the London city has a history museum of sorts will all kinds of artefacts and it all looks great as is the way with Peter Jackson and his team of Wizards at WETA in New Zealand.
What I wish worked as well was the human characters, Weaving does a good job as Valentine but he’s pretty much doing the standard Hugo Weaving routine by this stage, Robert Sheehan and Hera Hilmarsdottir are given very thin characters to work with and Hera really feels like a stand in for Dakota Johnson, Stephen Lang is okay as Shirke while Leila D’Onofrio was pretty good as Katherine, Valentine’s Daughter but all of them and their story in particular did very little for me and after a while I really got bored of them all despite the impressive visuals.
It also isn’t helped that the film zips along to such an extent that it barely takes anytime to put on the brakes and let its audience take in the world of the film or really develop it in any meaningful capacity which was one of the core strengths of this team’s work on Lord of the Rings where we got to see the world of Middle Earth perfectly realised on film and Jackson and Co took their time to develop that world and let us see the landscapes, environment and regions along with developing its characters whereas here we barely get to do that as its in such a rush to tell its story that a lot of that story and character development just gets passed by like a sign on the road.
And so that was my review of Mortal Engines and its okay with some terrific effects but its overall story and characters felt very thin on the ground and given what this team is capable of with their work on Lord of the Rings it’s a little disappointing, 2 out of 5.