By Dave B.
Mortal Engines (2018, currently on HBO) takes place on a post-apocalypse Earth where mobile cities vie for resources, with huge metropolises devouring smaller towns. London, having exhausted the resources of England has crossed to continental Europe, intent on finding a path through to the comparatively untouched hunting grounds of Asia. Hester Shaw, the movie’s heroine, will stop at nothing to stop London’s relentless onslaught while fulfilling her own need for revenge against the most influential member of London society.
In any measurable sense, Mortal Engines is not a good movie. The acting performances are pedestrian, the special effects and CGI are good (but not great), the movie’s script is terribly predictable and is full of weak dialogue, and the premise of the movie (and presumably the book) is ridiculous. On the face of it, mobile cities would never be able to acquire more resources than they consume just by moving. It’s basically why fixed agriculture replaced hunting and gathering in most of the world. Further, the movie having a China analogue culture as the savior of humanity reeks of political pandering.
The movie’s sole saving grace is that it keeps the action moving. That means there’s little downtime to reflect upon the film’s myriad flaws. At 129 minutes, the movie feels as if it zips along with PG-13 appropriate action sequences occurring with welcome regularity. Having never read the book, I can’t say whether or not the movie version is a departure from the book, or if Mortal Engine’s author is just an untalented hack, but I can say that this movie is one of the least inspired post-apocalypse teen movies that I’ve ever seen. Better to pass on this one instead of wasting two hours of your life on it.
I have no clue what I'm doing, but I'll keep doing whatever it is to the best of my ability.