Movie review: Mortal Engines

07 Dec 2018 / 17:37 H.

THE trailers, and the fact that The Lord of The Rings’ Peter Jackson is the producer behind this film set in a post-apocalyptic world, intrigued me.

However, I felt that director Christian Rivers should have paid more attention to the characters, who all ended up being very one dimensional.

The CGI was good, but it could only take you so far. In fact, some reviewers were snoozing during the thick of action.

The story is set in a world that has been destroyed by ‘the ancients’ (that is, us) and what is left are giant mobile mechanical cities that travel from place to place to find food and other resources to keep them running.

When one of the smaller mobile cities gets swallowed up by the gigantic mobile city called London, its inhabitants are forced to go through a tight security checkpoint as their former home is stripped for valuable ‘old world’ technology that London needs.

During the security check, a masked woman calling herself Hester Shaw (Hira Hilmar) stabs Thaddeus Valentine (Hugo Weaving), a highly-respected man in London.

Hester accuses Thaddeus of killing her mother, but before she can deliver the fatal blow, she is stopped by Tom (Robert Sheehan), a young man who works in a museum.

Hester escapes, Tom gives chase, and when he catches her before she can fall off a platform, she tells him the truth about Thaddeus. She breaks free from Tom’s grip and falls to the ground below.

When Tom tells Thaddeus what Hester has told him, Thaddeus pushes him off the platform. Tom survives the fall and tags along with Hester trying to find a way back.

The duo gets into some trouble but are rescued by Anna Fang (Jihae), the leader of a resistance group who are trying to put a stop to the moving cities. Filling up the rest of the story is the revelation of Hester’s past and Thaddeus’ true motivations.

There are some elements here that will remind you of the Star Wars saga.

As heroines go, Hester will annoy you, and her backstory (which is supposed to move you emotionally) might actually make you chuckle.

Also pursuing the heroine is a cyborg called Shrike (a wasted Stephen Lang), who likes to do arts and crafts with doll heads.

Viewers familiar with the current political climate might get the references to Britain’s Brexit saga, and US President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration stance. Those who don’t will just not care.

This movie could have benefited more from character development. It is painful to watch talented actors wasted in their roles.