CINEMA

Mortal Engines

POSTED BY: SHINYGOODGUY
UPDATED: Thursday, December 27, 2018 13:21
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VIEWED: 262
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Monday, December 17, 2018 3:52 AM

SHINYGOODGUY


I saw the warning signs on Rotten Tomatoes, 28%, really low. But, I thought, maybe it's like for Bohemian Rhapsody, a decent movie with some minor flaws.
But this movie Mortal Engines came with a particular pedigree, backed by a
successful director, Peter Jackson of LOTR fame.

That should have been my next warning sign. I've seen this before, that "from the makers of" several times before, and it almost always spells disaster. Okay, I won't hold you in suspense anymore. The RT critics were right. Now, mind you, I've never read any of the books, so I'm speaking strictly screenplay here...it was not good.

I went along with about 20 other poor souls on opening night (a 7:15 p.m. Friday night showing. Which was further humiliated by going up against the
Spider Verse movie, all the kids were lined up to see that). For me, they kind of told the story a little backwards (I guess they were trying to be different), the film's opening was a chase sequence, which usually goes in the second or third act, but that's how it went. Chase, followed by the heroine and hero (I presume) being introduced as they enter the scenario - a bleak future, after a devastating world war, where cities are either on wheels, in the air or stationary behind huge walls (sounds familiar?).

London is the main city on wheels gobbling up lesser cities in Europe for resources (in this case salt from a Baltic-like country on wheels powered by,
I believe, a steam engine). I never quite got the reason why they were known as Mortal Engines, the narrator didn't make it clear at the beginning of the movie, nor was it further explained in the meat of the story. But this is how they chose to start the movie, even before the title was flashed across the screen.

London, as it's citizens cheered on, was the main city that played like a bad guy, big and overpowering, moved to literally "gobble up" smaller countries, or engines, on wheels. They had a Prime Minister, but seemingly no royalty,
and Hugo Weaving played an archaeologist in charge of the city on wheels.
Our hero, a girl with a mask covering her nose and mouth, was on the small rolling city being chased by London, and that's how it all begins.

Let me give you the gist of the movie, which was rather poorly set up from the start and never really picked up "steam" (no pun intended). Weaving is a power hungry sort who betrays anyone to get his way, including the cruel Prime Minister, the young masked girl (Esther) and a young London lad who worked in the London Museum collecting ancient artifacts of a world before the Big Bang
(the World War). Throw in a couple secrets - Weaving's involvement with Esther's mom, a mechanical man made alive by a human brain, and a building love story with the London collector. Oh and a daughter of Weaving's character that, by all indications, may be of the adopted kind. Got all that!

Like I said, it was told, and edited, quite messily. Esther's story was told literally a third of the way in which, IMHO, should have opened the movie, which would better set up the reason why the masked girl was determined to kill the archaeologist of the London Mortal Engine. There was lots of action,
and very well produced CGI at that, but it had no substance and motivation.
We, the audience, didn't care because nothing was properly set up. Just a bunch of explosions and action sequences that, I guess, was supposed to represent the violence of us humans towards others that are different from us.
London, or more correctly, Weaving's character, ultimate enemy was a country
living behind a huge wall and they were more in tune with the nature of Earth.
Oh and they were, I believe, of the Chinese culture.

This mess was poorly written, poorly directed (Jackson's protege, Christian Rivers, remember that name and keep your distance from his movies. According to Wikipedia, he was Jackson's storyboard artist and FX supervisor - that figures - and second unit director. He's been with Jackson for over 30 years).

There were a couple of things I did like:

One was a scene between "Esther" and the mechanical man, that proved to be critical in the overall film. Very well done by the actors, despite the awkwardness of the script.

And another was, the young woman who played "Esther" Hera Hilmarsdottir, an Icelandic actress. I really liked her performance, again with a rather unfortunate script, she had me at hello. I hope she gets more rolls here in the U.S.

To sum up, wait for Mortal Engines to be on Netflix, which should be any minute now.


SGG

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Monday, December 17, 2018 7:23 AM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


How did studios decide to put this out while delaying again Alita?

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Monday, December 17, 2018 2:07 PM

WISHIMAY

There will be fire and brimstone and Earth will be destroyed!... in several billion years!----------------------------------------- "Well, so long Earth. Thanks for the air... and what-not." -Philip J. Fry


Quote:

Originally posted by SHINYGOODGUY:
I saw the warning signs on Rotten Tomatoes, 28%, really low. But, I thought, maybe...



Yep, hubby really really wanted to, but I made him check reviews first. Ruined his whole weekend

Oh, well....'Twas a beautiful day and we got a lot done, and then I made seafood alfredo with hot buttered scallops, mmmm. All was not lost :cheeers:

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Tuesday, December 18, 2018 3:29 AM

SHINYGOODGUY


Good question. I suspect that it's due to too many movies out during the Holidays and wanting to have the play of the field all to themselves. The article below says as much.

http://comicbook.com/anime/2018/09/28/alita-battle-angel-release-date-
delayed
/


SGG


Quote:

Originally posted by JEWELSTAITEFAN:
How did studios decide to put this out while delaying again Alita?


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Tuesday, December 18, 2018 3:48 AM

SHINYGOODGUY


Yeah, I was really, really bummed too. I'm such a sci-fi, action, fantasy geek and was really looking forward to this movie. Visually it was stunning, but the story was a bit of a mess. I think Jackson owed Rivers, his protege, a movie to direct. Not everyone is cut out to tell a story on film.

Just think of how deliciously evil Hugo Weaving is in The Matrix, and in this
loud dud, he's hardly evil, but only mildly dangerous. The dialogue was a bit hokey at times (I got the feeling he wanted to pay homage to his mentor and
tried to have the characters sound much like those in the LOTR films, needless to say he fell short).

Well, like you say...you got some things done, and the buttered scallops, Mmmmmmmm. You gave me a good idea for dinner this weekend.

Well, there's always Alita: Battle Angel in Feb 2019. I'll def let you know (I'm trying to contain my excitement, but I'm as "giddy as a little girl" - from an old SNL skit).

Cheers!


SGG


Quote:

Originally posted by WISHIMAY:
Quote:

Originally posted by SHINYGOODGUY:
I saw the warning signs on Rotten Tomatoes, 28%, really low. But, I thought, maybe...



Yep, hubby really really wanted to, but I made him check reviews first. Ruined his whole weekend

Oh, well....'Twas a beautiful day and we got a lot done, and then I made seafood alfredo with hot buttered scallops, mmmm. All was not lost :cheeers:


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Thursday, December 27, 2018 6:10 AM

SHINYGOODGUY


Turns out that Jackson bought the rights to the books 10 years ago and never got around to making the film, mainly because of his involvement with the LOTR movies and King Kong.

Too bad, I would have liked to have seen his version.


SGG

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Thursday, December 27, 2018 1:21 PM

JEWELSTAITEFAN


Quote:

Originally posted by SHINYGOODGUY:
Turns out that Jackson bought the rights to the books 10 years ago and never got around to making the film, mainly because of his involvement with the LOTR movies and King Kong.

Too bad, I would have liked to have seen his version.

SGG

If he did this one, I would have watched it even after your review.
I enjoyed his Meet The Feebles, and some friends consider that a favorite. That was also good prep for LOTR.

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