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Review: Originally a novel, ‘Mortal Engines’ reimagined in film

Cities become mobile in post-apocalyptic society

Courtesy+of+Universal+Pictures.
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Review: Originally a novel, ‘Mortal Engines’ reimagined in film

Courtesy of Universal Pictures.

Courtesy of Universal Pictures.

Courtesy of Universal Pictures.

Courtesy of Universal Pictures.

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Filled with mobile cities and relics of the 21st Century, director Christian Rivers reimagines the novel “Mortal Engines” written by Philip Reeve. Following what is known as the Sixty Minute War, the audience can see the effects of the tragedy.

The Sixty Minute War took place thousands of years before the time the characters live in during the film. Since the people of that time obtained weapons of mass destruction, the global battle only took an hour from beginning to end. There was, initially, a ‘cold war’ between various nations which started the war. All of the nations in the ‘cold war’ launched their missiles one after another, causing the war to be short but destructive.

In the beginning, a narrator talks about the backstory of the movie while the starting credits roll, helping the audience understand where the film begins. The first scene introduces the main character, Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar) looking through a hand-held telescope when she spots a London in the distance, which causes the smaller cities to drive away from the massive city.

Hester finds her way onto London and there she attempts to assassinate the Head of the Guild of Historians, Thaddeus Valentine (Hugo Weaving.) Hester’s mother, Pandora Shaw (Caren Pistorius) is briefly mentioned and the audience learns her importance later in the plot. The way each scene is directed shows a personal perspective for the audience which feels as if they are in the movie with the characters.

The entire storyline of the film gives the audience a new outlook on how the war can affect certain people. They mainly focus on Hester’s side of the story with her mother, but the writers also focus on the minor characters as well to provide a broader outlook on the plot. This gives a wider range of perspectives to the plot and helps the audience grow attached to the characters they meet.

Before the attack on Valentine, the audience meets Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan), a low-class apprentice historian of London. He is forced out of the city and travels with Hester as they find their way to another city. Along the way, they go through multiple obstacles and learn to trust each other.

Valentine ignored their past, the 21st Century and the lessons they could learn from the generations before them and, initially, molded into a “new-age Hitler.” He craved power and was thirsty for violence. The way Weaving portrayed Valentine was magnificent because the audience was able to see the two different personalities his character possessed.

The post-apocalyptic society, originally created by Reeve, was wonderfully reimagined by Rivers. “Mortal Engines” is a film showcasing the tragic story of Hester and what could happen in the future. The set designers did a fantastic job of creating a realistic setting while they filmed by incorporating wind, moving set pieces and vivid details. The film deserves a 3.5 out of 5 stars for the well-thought-out storyline.

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Review: Originally a novel, ‘Mortal Engines’ reimagined in film