Mortal Engines

Mortal Engines ★★★★★

2019 movie viewings, #92. A couple of weeks ago I got convinced by the science-fiction blog Tor to read Philip Reeve's gonzo young adult actioner Mortal Engines; and I liked it so much, I decided to check out the high-profile Peter Jackson movie that was made of it a few years ago as well, which I barely remember and, it turns out, is one of the top 10 biggest box office bombs in film history. After seeing it, though, I don't know why people stayed away in droves, because it's the exact batshit outrageous movie experience you would expect from this batshit outrageous book, and huge fun no matter who's watching it.

For those who don't know, we're looking at a Planet Earth several thousand years in the future here, which has gone through several distinct important epochs in history: first people used nuclear weapons on each other; then the resulting environmental disaster destroys the planet; then humanity places their cities on giant wheeled platforms so they can drive away from the natural disasters; and now it's a thousand years later, and these city-states have become weaponized vehicles, chasing each other across the wasteland of central Europe and eating each other up to grab another bite of the disappearing natural resources of the planet. It's deliberately silly and kick-ass, a ten-year-old's steampunk fever dream of killer zeppelins and sexy biomech Asian assassins, so you should embrace the kick-ass silliness instead of whining about it if you plan on having any enjoyment whatsoever. Destined to be a midnight cult film in another decade, you should definitely track this down if you missed it during its super-brief stay in theatres.

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