Mortal Engines (2018)
December 19, 2018 12:20 AM - Subscribe

Hundreds of years after civilization was destroyed by a cataclysmic event, a mysterious young woman, Hester Shaw, emerges as the only one who can stop London — now a giant, predator city on wheels — from devouring everything in its path. Based on the novels by Philip Reeve.
posted by GuyZero (11 comments total)
For all the special effects blowout this movie is on track [sic] to do pretty poorly at the box office.

And that's because it is a hot, hot mess of a YA movie.
posted by GuyZero at 12:22 AM on December 19, 2018 [3 favorites]

Spouse and I went to see it last weekend, in case it was an entertaining ball of nonsense a la Pacific Rim. I love a goodbad movie, with hammy acting and ridiculous Rule of Cool ideas. You know the type.

Unfortunately, this was not it. There were a few environments that looked like interesting video game levels, in that they looked cool and made little practical sense. Otherwise it was a crammed-together series of set pieces that never. ever. ever. takes. a chance. to breathe. ever. Maybe once, the Twinkie scene? I guess? The 10 minute mark felt like an hour in, and then it just kept going at that pace.

I'm not mad - we had fun nitpicking afterward, and we get a very minor character named Dr. Twix, which amuses me more than it should. But I didn't get what I was half-hoping for.
posted by cage and aquarium at 4:58 AM on December 19, 2018

I've been seeing lots of subway ads for this movie, but I was absolutely certain that it was another one of those Mortal Instruments movies. That's some bad marketing.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:50 PM on December 19, 2018 [5 favorites]

I was absolutely certain that it was another one of those Mortal Instruments movies.

Another one? I thought this was the Mortal Instruments movie. And you're suggesting there's more than one of them already?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 5:47 PM on December 19, 2018

Two different book series:

The Mortal Instruments
Mortal Engines

The Mortal Instruments was going to be a movie series but the first one didn't make enough money.
posted by Pendragon at 3:33 AM on December 20, 2018

I'm not sure that last fact helps to distinguish this one at all.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:35 AM on December 20, 2018 [3 favorites]

I will add to my short review to say that my usual beef with movies based on novels is that the movies elides way too much of the book. And I get why this happens, they're very different media. I just don't like it.

But here, I finally get my wish, monkey's paw style. They have included pretty much everything from the novel and as a result the movie never gets a chance to pause and it feels like there's a handful of irrelevant plotlines that go nowhere.
posted by GuyZero at 12:56 PM on December 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

I quite liked the book (and series) this is based on.

I'm almost certainly skipping the movie.
posted by kyrademon at 3:32 PM on December 20, 2018

My son and I went to see this because it looked cool and steam-punky. Neither of us has read the book(s).
He liked it, warts and all.

I felt like it would have made a good multi-part netflix type series, but that the restrictions of compressing the story (natch) into a 2-ish hour movie made it impossible to stitch the actions scenes (very nice) together with any kind of character development or really anything approaching logical continuity. I could almost see what was being left out, and that made the movie okay by me on the whole.
posted by OHenryPacey at 5:02 PM on December 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

Great looking movie, but deeply boring, and in that sneaky bad way where very little of it is outwardly terrible, but I frequently find myself realizing I can remember the last ten minutes.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:22 PM on September 27, 2019

Yeah, this wasn't quite the glorious failure that Jupiter Ascending was, but it had that same sort of highly polished, well done, even (dare I say it) interesting story that just sort of ultimately failed to deliver? Too many sort of miraculous saves ("hey here's a mysterious outlaw come to save the day!"), a little bit of misplaced angst ("robo daaaaad! Your arrival just spelled the end of this city but robo daaaaaaaad!"), some plot points that felt like they were there merely to provide a perspective character to explain them at the appropriate time (Blondie & The Underclassman), etc etc etc.

It wasn't like, don't go see this bad, and it wasn't B-movie bad, but it wasn't exactly good, either. It's such a weird corner to be in. It felt like it could have stood a few more passes through the screenwriter's room to trim it down into a tight 1.5-2 hour movie instead of an absolutely claustrophobic 2 hour movie.

On the other hand, maybe that would've hurt things if you had more time for contemplation instead of a story that was so frenetic that you couldn't stop to think about plot problems.
posted by Kyol at 5:37 PM on October 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

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