Peter Jackson is back with another epic vision in the new trailer for Mortal Engines. The film was originally meant to serve as Jackson's third big-budget adventure film after his Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong remake, but was put on the back-burner after he agreed to oversee The Hobbit in 2010. Although he still cowrote and produced the film, Jackson ended up handing the job of directing Mortal Engines over to Christian Rivers: a VFX supervisor and storyboard artist who's been working with Jackson since the tail-end of his low-budget "splatter phase" in the early 1990s.
Mortal Engines is based on Philip Reeve's book series and takes place in a future world where people now live in mobile cities that battle one another for control of the planet's remaining resources. The story follows Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan), a lower-class Londoner whose life is forever changed after he crosses paths with a mysterious fugitive and revolutionary named Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar). Rounding out the film's cast are such names as Lord of the Rings and Hobbit veteran Hugo Weaving, along with Avatar's Stephen Lang, Krypton's Colin Salmon, and South Korean pop music star Jihae.
The Mortal Engines teaser trailer released last year offers a brief glimpse of Hester, as well as a taste of the movie's dystopian aesthetic and massive scale. By comparison, Universal's full-length trailer delves further into the adapted story that Jackson wrote with his trusted collaborators Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. Those who have read Reeve's books (which include Mortal Engines, Predator's Gold, Infernal Devices, and A Darkling Plain) may already be starting to notice that there are some major differences between the novels and the big screen version of Mortal Engines, based on the second trailer alone. Take a look in the space above, then check out the film's new poster below.
This full-length trailer quickly brings newcomers up to speed on the backstory for Mortal Engines (see the reference to the "Sixty Minute War" that led to the film's dystopian setting), before diving head-first into the plot of the actual movie. Based on the trailer, Weaving's character Thaddeus Valentine will serve as the primary threat in the big screen version of Mortal Engines, as will the now-mobile city of London itself. Beyond that, the trailer reveals how Tom and Hester end up having to work together after Tom learns a little too much about Valentine's history and is forced to leave London for the first time in his life.
Unsurprisingly, given Rivers' background in visual effects and storyboarding, the world design in the Mortal Engines trailer is top notch and suggests that, if nothing else, this will be a great looking post-apocalyptic adventure. It remains to be seen if the actual story here is equally inventive or ends up hitting one too many familiar beats, when it comes to this type of hero's journey narrative. Similarly, with Mortal Engines knowingly drawing inspiration from popular franchises like Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Mad Max, there's a risk that the whole thing will come off as derivative, its eye candy aside. Here's to hoping that Mortal Engines delivers the goods on that front too, then.
Source: Universal Pictures
- Mortal Engines (2018) release date: Dec 14, 2018