Mortal Engines Review
Mortal Engines is a film of clichés, it really felt like a cobbled together assortment of other movies. I couldn't actually believe how little this stood out from anything else. Moving past that aspect of it, which basically makes up every scene we have another dystopian future. There was an intense and short war that completely re-shaped the Earth, this story takes place a thousand years later. Some cities have become giant moving machines, they hunt the smaller ones for scraps. While you'd think that might be an important aspect of the tale, you only see the society for a few moments and it's largely about walking across lovely landscapes.
The world looks rather great; not sure why they have the need to drive the cities around, regardless it would have been nice to see more of a focus on the actual interesting aspects. It mostly just follows Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar) as she aims to get revenge and ends up having to deal with a boy that she totally does not get close to as they walk across the dirt and share their sad pasts. There are action segments and those help add to the extremely long run time. It was rather excessive quite honestly, in terms of length with many side plots that didn't make any sense. At times I assumed certain moments would lead to a purpose, but nope. Just weird padding with characters that don't matter and then vanish.
I suppose the CGI of Mortal Engines at least looked fine, brought these large steampunk inspired designs to life. There were lots of locations they visited and it seemed like they really stuffed the story with content. I'm fairly sure it could have been cut down considerably. It also didn't need so many cliché moments, they just continued right up until the ending. The acting was also a bit stiff for many scenes and the cast felt lifeless at times.
It also became very overstuffed in terms of cast members introducing many late and trying to add a sense of weight to their importance which did not land. I actually felt the one robotic character had the most heart, but was another possibly unnecessary story aspect. They really could have leaned into that more since the one without a heart, had the biggest one in this. They could have also made him a two second flashback, would have worked better and cut down on that run time.
Mortal Engines is a long, boring tale that is full of clichés and moments that are stolen from other films. It really doesn't have its own identity despite having such an oddly different sort of dystopian world setup. It's honestly a bit funny to hear them explain at the start, but that aside they really don't dive into the world of these creations. It looks like a really messed up society and having the story take place in that kind of location would have been better.
Instead they spread out to a variety of locations that you only get small glimpses into. It was quite ridiculous most of the time with a cast that gets too big to handle and you're supposed to care for them, which you can't due to a limited amount of screen time. I thought the lead was mostly fine here, but in general most of the cast was very rigid and more robotic than the machine character that actually had a heart of gold here. I'll never forget that murdering, deadly machine that we don't really understand what made it so menacing!
Mortal Engines Review at Theater with Standard Viewing
Screening Provided by NBC Universal
Rating Overall: 4.5