Young heroes emerge in the latest trailer and posters for the Peter Jackson produced post-apocalyptic adventure, Mortal Engines. The film takes place in the aftermath of a cataclysmic event (referred to as simply the Sixty Minute War) that devastated the planet and left human civilization in shambles. Giant traction cities now roam the earth and prey upon smaller mobile towns in an ongoing struggle to control what remains of the world's natural resources.
A big screen adaptation of Philip Reeve's book series (which itself spans four novels), Mortal Engines has been in development for over a decade now. Jackson had originally planned to direct the movie in the late 2000s, but ended up working on The Hobbit trilogy instead. The filmmaker's Oscar-winning storyboard artist and visual effects supervisor Christian Rivers later stepped in to call the shots, yet still drew from an adapted screenplay that Jackson wrote with Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens (his trusted writing partners going back to the Lord of the Rings trilogy).
Robert Sheehan (Misfits, Genius) and Hera Hilmar (Da Vinci's Demons) star in Mortal Engines as, respectively, lower-class Londoner Tom Natsworthy and the fugitive Hester Shaw. As the first Mortal Engines trailer revealed, Tom and Hester wind up on a grand adventure together after Tom learns a little too much about Thaddeus Valentine (Hugo Weaving) - London's Head of the Guild of Historians - and his dark past. Along the way, the pair join forces with Anna Fang (Jihae), the leader of a resistance group against the giant moving cities that are claiming all of earth's resources for themselves. For more, watch the brand-new Mortal Engines trailer above, then check out the posters for Tom, Hester, Anna and Thaddeus that were released over the past week.
As the latest trailer illustrates, there's a lot of world-building in Mortal Engines - too much for any single trailer to sufficiently cover, at that. Jackson and his many, many collaborators further unveiled a whopping 25 minutes from the movie at the Mortal Engines New York Comic Con panel earlier today (at the time of writing), with Andy Serkis serving as the moderator. Between all the information revealed at its NYCC panel and the details in the new trailer (which also screened at the event), it's clear that Mortal Engines has the potential to serve as the first chapter in a much bigger narrative based on the latter novels by Reeve.
Mortal Engines will face heavy competition at the box office when it arrives this December, starting with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (which opens the same weekend). Seeing as the film doesn't have the brand appeal that Jackson's J.R.R. Tolkien movies or his King Kong remake had when they hit theaters in Decembers past, it will be all the more important for Mortal Engines to start generating positive buzz right out of the gate, if it's to become a commercial success and avoid getting lost in the shuffle over the winter holidays. The movie certainly has promise but, as always, time will tell whether that promise is fulfilled or not.
Source: Universal Pictures
- Mortal Engines (2018) release date: Dec 14, 2018