“We have to stop London before it destroys us.”Anna Fang
Written by Fran Walsh and Peter Jackson, and directed by Jackson’s protégé, there were clearly high hopes that Mortal Engines would spark a new blockbuster fantasy film franchise. There is creativity in the absurd notion of roving motorised cities in a post-apocalyptic landscape, and seeing a monstrous London chase down and swallow a smaller town whole provides breathtaking spectacle. The world building on display is truly impressive. Unfortunately the script struggles to balance this against compelling storytelling — when we don’t care about the characters as individuals, the stakes drop considerably. Hugo Weaving is the film’s strongest presence, charismatic and driven. Fresh big budget spectacle is a welcome change in an industry beholden to sequels but Mortal Engines fails to justify further investment.