This is a big, frenetic summer blockbuster set thousands of years in the future. Cities now have wheels, and they eat each other.
The new trilogy from the team behind the 'Lord Of The Rings' is here, and it’s massive in every possible way. 'Mortal Engines' is based on a four part Young Adult book series, in a post-apocalyptic world where the 'ancients' (i.e. us) destroyed much of civilisation in a war that lasted a mere 60 seconds. The film opens with an epic chase scene, and is full of tech, lights and CGI action. It is definitely one to see on the big screen – IMAX if you can.
The team tried to fit so much into the film that the plot suffers a little – there are a few gaping holes and it can be hard to understand why some characters do what they do. There isn’t enough time to build back stories, or create emotional connections to the characters, although maybe if you’ve read the books and already know all the details this won’t matter much.
One of the film highlights is the cast diversity. Even though the central characters remain white, the female lead has a scar across her face, and the main booty-kicker is an Asian woman. The rebel alliance (there are quite a few familiar sci-fi tropes popping up) is a mixed bag of faces, which is great to see. There are a few political and cultural jokes at our expense – the ancients worship Minions and forgot how to read and write during the “screen age” – which add a fun, if slightly uncomfortable, element.
This is a big, loud summer film that is fun to go and see. The visuals and the opening scene alone are worth the ticket price. Perhaps the film has too much world-building to do to make the story behind this first instalment truly satisfying, but it’s still a wild ride to tag along for.