I had so little desire to see this movie. The previews looked incomprehensible and stupid. The story line seemed even more confusing.
After the incredible "Lord of the Rings" films from Peter Jackson, I should have had more faith in him. MORTAL ENGINES is actually really enjoyable and visually incredible.
Jackson and his "Rings" team wrote the film, dropping $100 million on its production.
After a worldwide series of attacks that cripple the Earth in just 60 seconds, traditional cities fall. They're replaced (for absolutely no other reason that they look very cool on film) by massive cities on mammoth treads that roam the landscape, devouring smaller cities, adopting their citizens and reaping the bounty.
Hugo Weaving (The Matrix, V for Vendetta) is terrific as the second in command for the city of London, Thaddeus Valentine.
The city of London is incredibly conceived, with Big Ben, palaces, parks and an entire population rolling around on a giant Tonka tank. It's WAY cooler than it sounds! (Remember, I didnt want to see this either....)
A mysterious terrorist named Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar) attempts to assassinate Valentine, unleashing an interesting story line that may sound very familiar to anyone that's watched fantasy and sci-fi films for the past four decades.
For me, there are heavy influences of "The Empire Strikes Back", "Logan's Run" and "Waterworld" along with plenty of mythological themes, mashed up into one jaw dropping visual feast after another.
Throw in a subplot on the regenerated dead (in the film's weakest subplot) and you've just about covered all your bases. That thing looks cool, but the best part is that VOICE by Stephen Lang (Avatar) and the sound designers.
Newcomer Robert Sheehan is fun as our hero Tom and Jihae is superb as lethal assassin Anna Fang.
What the previews didnt even hint at is the film's sense of humor about itself, meta referencing today's technology and entertainment as the things of legend. We are indeed in the "age of screens".
At the one hour mark, the action turns more serious as battle lines are drawn.
I'm always wanting to see things on screen that I've never seen before. Well...
I've never seen a massive mobile city pursuing a smaller one across fantastic New Zealand landscapes like some twisted, hundred story high off road race.
Jackson fills every corner with incredible detail, overwhelming you in this new world.
He's one of film's most visionary directors and designers. While he handed off the directors chair to Christian Rivers, the visual designer of Jackson's "King Kong" and Rings trilogy, Jackson's fingerprints are all over the adventure.
Weaving owns the screen as the worst Dad since Darth Vader, he's terrific.
Earning only $15M at the USA box office, MORTAL ENGINES misfired on every level in theatres. It deserves another chance on home viewing platforms.
It's a fantasy blast from start to finish and gets an A-.