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Sci-Fi - Dystopian Future

Mortal Engines (2018)


Duration 2h 8m Rating (UK) 12A
Source of story A series of YA books by Phillip Reeve
Director Christian Reeve
Writers/Script Fran Walsh, Phillipa Boyens, Peter Jackson
Starring Hera Hilmar, Robert Sheehan, Hugo Weaving, Jihae, Patrick Malahide,

Elevator Pitch: In a post-apocalyptic future huge mobile cities range about the European landscape, the larger ones preying on the smaller, gobbling them up and subsuming their content. When London consumes a smaller city one of the people brought aboard is Hester Shaw, who has a bone to pick with the mayor’s right hand man. However when she attempts to stab him she is cast down a disposal chute, as is a young man who  saw the event. They are forced to  work together to survive out in the country and are captured by the operators of a scuttle-bug, with the intent of selling them as slaves. This is only the start of their adventures.

Content: Initially Hester looks like a fugitive from the corona virus, looking out at London as it chases down the lesser city. There are a lot of scenes on board the large city with its marbled halls and a version of St Pauls. Thaddeus Valentine has evil plans to attack the Asian defensive wall. We also follow Hester and Tom on their adventures which involve being sold as slaves and rescued by a woman in a flying machine. Gradually we see mutual affection developing between them, but there is no sex or nudity.

A View: I am generally quite enthusuastic about steam punk and this must be the ultimate version, however despite the wonderful modelling of the cities on the move I could not see the point of them. We have to go back to the origins of civilisation, where it was a move from the hunting of animals for survival to agriculture which made people settle down. It looked to me that if the cities had not been trampling the countryside all the time it could have been quite productive. So the basic premise was flawed. It got very poor reviews despite the wonderful world construction. Maybe a watch for nothing while doing something else.

Additional Info:  If you check out the books you find that there is an internal structure in the mobile London, making it, so it seems, a bit like Snowpiercer. This has been ditched for the action features.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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