The 2018 film Mortal Engines comes to Netflix today (22 November 2020), but what is it and should you spend two hours watching it?
The Netflix page for Mortal Engines tells us a little:
In a post-apocalyptic New World, a young woman and her rebel friends seek to stop the giant mobile city of London from devouring everything in its path.
The trailer from the film’s release is here, and tells us it’s from the makers of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The cast includes Hera Hilmar, Robert Sheehan, Hugo Weaving and more besides. There’s a strong sense of something steampunk and we also see the film is based on a novel. In fact it’s based on a series of novels by writer Phillip Reeve.
In fact their are four novels in the Mortal Engines Quartet: Mortal Engines, Predator’s Gold, Infernal Devices and A Darkling Plain. They were released between 2001 and 2006 and fall very much into a YA category, though Reeve in fact started Mortal Engines itself in the 1980s, before such categorisations were widely (if at all) used.
As to the film, it only score 26% with critics on Rotten Tomatoes and 49% with the audience. If that doesn’t bode well, their critical summary has this so say:
…no shortage of eye-catching special effects, but lacks enough high-octane narrative fuel to give this futuristic fantasy sufficient cinematic combustion.
On this evidence alone there’s little to recommend over other choices, yet as we all know, streaming services are great for dipping into at no cost. We’d suggest Mortal Engines is worth a look and with 2020 being the year it is, the film may provide a welcome diversion. The books were packed with imagination and if even 10% of that made it to the screen, it may just be worth a watch.