"an interesting entry into the science fiction/fantasy genre"
The latest offering from Producer Peter Jackson and first time director Christian Rivers Mortal Engines is a tale set in a dystopian future about a thousand years from now. The descendants of what is known as the "Sixty Minute War" survive in a post-apocalyptic world scavenging and plundering goods and resources. In this world there are anti-traction cities and traction towns and cities.
The principal traction city being London, a mechanical mobile engine driven roaming city governed by the Lord Mayor Magnus Crime played by Patrick Malahide and Thaddeus Valentine a historian and archaeologist played by Hugo Weaving.
The mechanical city of London retains some historical landmarks, the most notable being St Paul's Cathedral. The inhabitants of the city have a steampunk Victorian look about their appearance. Even in this chaotic future there is seemingly order in London, maintained by a group of four guilds. The merchants in charge of the economy, the navigators in control of London's physical movement, the engineers charged with maintaining the mechanical running of London and the historians whose job it is to seek lost knowledge and maintain current knowledge. All of whom are ruled over by the Mayor of London.
Mortal Engines opens with an epic chase with London chasing and catching a small mining town called Salthook. Upon capture the citizens of Salthook are asked to disembark their town and are welcomed to join London, however one of them Hester Shaw played by Hera Hilmar attempts to assassinate Thaddeus Valentine (Hugo Weaving) only to be stopped by a young historian Tom Natsworthy played by Robert Sheehan.
Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan) purses Shaw (Hera Hilmar) and in the ensuing chase and struggle she reveals a disfiguring scar on her face claiming Valentine had caused it and then manages to escape through a chute after jumping off a platform.
Valentine (Hugo Weaving) although injured manages to catch up with Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan) and is questioned by him. Revealing to Valentine that he has learned her name is Hester Shaw, Valentine pushes Natsworthy of the platform into the chute in the hope of killing him and covering up the truth.
Shaw and Natsworthy having survived the fall through the chute compose themselves and form an uneasy bond, whilst trying to navigate their way out of the hostile wastelands. Eventually they are 'rescued' by the owner of a small town called Speedwell, who unbeknown to them intends to sell them for profit.
As Natsworthy and Shaw begin to bond and share their experiences, we learn from her that Valentine (Hugo Weaving) killed Hester Shaw's mother in order to possess old weapon technology she had discovered that would allow him to rebuild the type of weapon that had lead originally to the destruction of humanity and the "Sixty Minute War".
Mortal Engines is an interesting entry into the science fiction/fantasy genre, seemingly borrowing or being influenced by films such as The Terminator, Mad Max and Star Wars/Rogue One. This leading to a sense of plot familiarity, however that being the case some humorous cultural references and London being the primary traction city together with it's steampunk look and it's visual entertainment value it earns itself three and half stars.