Mortal Engines film review: fun piece of escapism

Hera Hilmar as Hester Shaw in Mortal Engines.
Hera Hilmar as Hester Shaw in Mortal Engines.

MORTAL Engines is an action packed story featuring the stunning effects and high adventures we know to expect from the writers and producers of the Lord of the Rings franchise.

After the world was destroyed in the ‘60 Minutes War’, cities transformed into moving traction machines, traversing the Hunting Ground, the wastelands of a future earth, and preying on smaller traction towns.

Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan) works in a London museum and, like most of the city’s citizens, looks up to beloved leader and archaeologist Thaddeus Valentine (Hugo Weaving).

However, when a mysterious girl with a red scarf over her mouth Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar) attempts to kill Valentine, Tom is flung unwittingly into a journey that will take him out of the city and into danger.

From the first spectacular chase sequence, Mortal Engines moves forward with increasing motion and pretty much never stops.

Characters and exposition are introduced simultaneously, the sooner to get to the action as Hester and Tom run, jump and fight their way through the Hunting Grounds and meet a variety of colourful but dangerous characters.

The action sequences keep you on the edge of your seat with imaginative choreography and benefit from a mix of physical sets and CGI allowing for tangible performance.

There are quieter moments as the inevitable romance burgeons between the two leads, but nothing more than a look or a touch of the hand ensures the pace continues.

Alongside Hester, aviator and warrior Anna Fang (Jihae) and Valentine’s daughter Katherine (Leila George) offer more female characters than most big budget movies, enabling each character to exist within the film as an individual without having the burden of “the one female character” on their shoulders.

There is also a diverse cast, particularly with the Anti-Tractionist League, a group against the idea of moving cities.

While the beats and plot are familiar to any lover of action adventure films, Mortal Engines offers a fun piece of escapism that shows how humans will return even after self-destructing an idea all too scarily real right now.

THE ESSENTIALS

Mortal Engines (M)

Directed by: Christian Rivers

Starring: Hugo Weaving, Hera Hilmar, Robert Sheehan

Four stars

Review by Lucy Rutherford

In cinemas now