Mortal Engines

I’ve always been a fan of science fiction fantasy, especially of the steampunk variety. There’s a considerable amount of content in this particular genre of fantasy that makes the cut, and yet there haven’t been many good films in the genre recently. Mortal Engines is one that seemed like it would be something exciting, a refresher for the genre of steampunk media, and yet it turned out to be nothing more than a steaming metropolitan pile of fuming disappointment.

How to Download Mortal Engines

You can download the film from a digital store. You can also stream it. Click on the Download button at the end of this review and make your choice.

The Movie Review

Philip Reeve’s best-selling novel served as the inspiration for Mortal Engines, a film that was directed by Christian Rivers with Peter Jackson serving as one of the producers. It tells the tale of a post-apocalyptic steampunk world in which massive mobile city machines have destroyed and foraged around Europe, turning it into a desolate wasteland. Darwinism is practically a religion, the strong devour the weak, and anything from the ancient world is revered as a heavenly relic. This is where we meet our main characters, in the city of London, a flying metropolis of corruption.

Now, while this concept might seem pretty darn cool in its own right, it doesn’t really feel fun to watch at all. This is primarily because the film is filled to the brim with nothing but the worst of the worst cliches, combined with one of the blandest stories we’ve seen in a while. The series of unoriginal clichés start with the status quo of the wealthy elite over the underprivileged in the mobile city, there is a rebellion, there is an uprising, and the elite are against the uprising wholeheartedly.

The problem isn’t the cliches to be fair, but rather the way they are all executed. Literally, none of them serve much of a purpose, and the character writing isn’t strong enough to hold its own either. There is literally not a single character in this film who felt memorable, and they were all bland to be precise. The most boring of these characters turn out to be the main character, and if you don’t have a good main character, there’s not much else to talk about, aside from the cliches that she is tragic, emo, and scarred. The rest of the characters suffer from the same problem as well, none of them have any characteristics that make them unique.

You can tell the actors are having a hard time with the material, I can’t really blame them either. Weaving (check him out also in Hacksaw Ridge as Tom Doss or in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies as Elrond) and Stephan Lang (he’s The Blind Man in Don’t Breathe and Colonel Miles Quaritch in Avatar) as try their best tough guy takes, dudes that grunt a lot, speak little but say a lot. The newcomers here though, Hilmar and Sheehan fall completely flat. They fail to inspire anything cool in the film, and even the Asian megastar Jihae enters the film a bit too late to really add anything to it.

The Visual Effects

The only defining feature of this film has got to be its CGI, which is also one of the glaring flaws here. Looking back on Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings franchise, most of it was practical stuff with large structures being built for filming. Here, EVERYTHING is CGI, so much so that the film looks like a Marvel film at times. Sometimes it looks incredibly great, and so much fun to look at, but at other times it genuinely just looks like a typical Marvel film with no trajectory. It has genuinely good cinematography, and it looks incredibly good in shots where the film isn’t filled to the brim with an overabundance of CGI.

The Music

The music doesn’t do much for the film though, it sounds basic, to say the least. How many films of this sort have you seen which have LARGE, EPIC soundtracks? Too many to count, and yet the soundtrack doesn’t do much here aside from when the large CGI monstrosities are on screen. It looks like a spectacle, but it doesn’t really do much other than being a spectacle.

The Verdict

Mortal Engines is nothing more than a half-baked attempt to establish a distinctive new cinematic universe. This came out at the peak of the MCU, so I can understand why they were going for this approach with fresh new faces and some familiar names to establish something like that, but there’s nothing much to take away other than some nice visual flourishes serving as its only consolation. This film is a charmless and lifeless exercise in big-budget filmmaking, and if we can tell anything from Marvel’s recent debacles such as The Eternals and Thor Love and Thunder, that particular era is going away.

Mortal Engines
Mortal Engines is a science fiction dystopian cyberpunk film based on the novel by Philip Reeve (1966), who is a British writer. Download it now.
4.5 Total Score
Mortal Engines Review Summary

Sound & Music
  • Visually a lot to take in, it’s breathtaking to look at in some moments
  • A bland and overly conventional story
  • The characters lack soul, and the actors lack the conviction to play them
  • The music is bland and repetitive
  • The film ends at a somewhat cliffhanger, which is just bad because there’s no continuation
User Rating: 5 (1 vote)
Universal Pictures
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Zain Bhatti

Zain Bhatti

Zain is an aspiring filmmaker who has invested thousands of hours of his life into understanding films and the way they are made. He has a passion for films, a love for cinematography, and adores a film that breaks the rules to bring something refreshing to the table!

Apart from films he also has a love for video games with immersive worlds and adores any piece of consumable media that he can analyze for countless hours.