It’s the future and cities move…into my wallet and take my money…and give me a poopy movie in return.
BQB here with a review of the apparent flop, “Mortal Engines.”
I’m torn, 3.5 readers. If you read the reviews, the critics are calling this flick an epic fail. I must admit, my test of a bad movie is if, at any time, I reach for my cell phone to check the time just to find out how much longer I have to sit through this stinker.
But that’s me and the problem is, this movie wasn’t made for me. It’s a YA tale geared towards teenagers and it checks off all the young adult boxes and then some.
Teenagers who are in, for some reason, highly important positions of authority? Check. Adults are villains? Check. Reluctant romance between the hero and heroine where they dislike one another at first but then as the drama unfolds they fall for one another? Check. Possible developing love triangle? Check. Teenagers save the day despite having little, if any, combat experience? Check.
Ergo, I am reluctant to call this a stinkburger because again, it wasn’t made for a crusty old fuck like me. It was made for the kids and I’d imagine if I had been born around the turn of the century I would have found this to be a good time.
The plot? It’s a thousand years into the future and people now suffer life in a world ruined by the ancient ones (SPOILER ALERT: we, all of us, right now, are the ancient ones). Humorous allusions to our stupid and slothful ways and our pop culture worship provide comic relief.
Cities are now mobile. Some, like London, have become enormous tank-like monstrosities, moving across the planet on giant treads, looking to conquer other mobile cities because, well, all the world’s resources have gone to shit, so now, stealing another mobile city’s shit is the only way to survive.
Other cities move in the air. Sorry. I forgot the name of the city that flies in the air. I’m an adult and I’m too busy worrying about making my next mortgage payment.
Against this dystopian backdrop, young Hester Shaw (played by someone too new for me to remember her name) seeks revenge for her deceased mother and in doing so, attempts to murder the chief muckety muck of Mobile London, Hugo Weaving. Him I know because I saw “The Matrix” in the theater and I have the gray pubes to prove it.
Blah, blah, blah, the plot fails, Hester ends up escaping with some teenage historian who has studied up on the ancient ones’ ways (reading all about how we got fat while writing posts about our lunch on Facebook I assume) and they go on an adventure, they run around the wasteland, they fly around in sky and shit an so on.
The beginning has some good action. I was borderline asleep for the middle. A sub-plot where Hester is pursued by Shrike (Stephen Lang, him I know from “Avatar”), some type of hybrid human-zombie-robot who wants to turn Hester into a human-zombie-robot and she calls bullshit on that and doesn’t want to become one.
This is a Peter Jackson flick and the visuals are hella tight. The special effects are awesome. And honestly, it’s hard to knock the plot because unlike many other movies, there is one.
Where it lags is, in true YA fashion, you have to learn a lot of shit fast. Personally, as an adult, when I read YA, I feel like I’m suddenly being hit with all these definitions, and rules, and new words, and “Those people are the Hoopy Doops and they believe this” but “Those people are the Weeble Worps and they believe that” and so on.
Like I said. I’m old. I have a tube of Preparation H in my medicine cabinet. This movie wasn’t for me. I did enjoy the effects and pretty colors and admit if I were younger, it would have captivated me.
STATUS: Shelf-worthy, though I don’t have any interest in watching it again. However, if you’re a steampunk, this movie will be your Super Bowl.