• 22 Dec - 28 Dec, 2018
  • Farheen Jawaid
  • Reviews

This Peter Jackson film is an understated gem. One only has to look at it from a certain angle to see its brilliance.

Now don’t take me wrong, Mortal Engines, adapted from Phillip Reeve’s Young Adult books, is far from brilliant. In the right hands – that is writers Jackson, Fran Walsh and Phillipa Boyens; the same team from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit series – the result is engaging, and totally worth one’s hard earned money.

The director is Christian River’s, who had won an Oscar for King Kong’s visual effects, and has a long-history of working with Jackson. Somehow, Mortal Engines ends up looking a lot like Lord of the Rings; from Junkie XL’s background music, the way it is shot, everything felt similar.

That by itself is not a bad thing, because the film is a tricky genre.

Set in a Steampunk reality (a lesser popular science fiction genre), the story is of an alternate reality of our world that has been destroyed by mankind’s tenacity to wage war. The remaining population lives off leftover resources in giant cities and smaller towns; these towns and cities are motorized, running on wheels like heavy-terrain vehicles.

The bigger cities – like London, ruled byautocrat Thaddues Valentine (played by actor Hugo Weaving) – there is a rich and poor class system. These cities hunt down and literally engulf the smaller cities.

In one such city lives Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar), the heroine of the story. As soon as she lands in London, she is on the run with a young historian from London (Robert Sheehan) as they thwart Valentine’s plans.

The film has a blockbuster tone, and the story tries to adapt a lot of incidents from the novels. For those bored with superhero films, this is the one to see. •