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Mortal Engines

Films set in a post-apocalyptic world tend to be rather dour affairs. It would be under the circumstances but works such as ‘Mad Max’ and ‘Waterworld’ don’t bode well for humanity’s future. ‘Mortal Engines’ presents a more interesting take on the course the world may take. Its interpretation of a steampunk infused universe provides an eye-catching gloss with the hint of optimism showing the path ahead may not be so bleak.

In a world where entire cities are motorised and prey on each other, its inhabitants are continually cautious. Tom (Robert Sheehan) gets caught up in an assassination plot against powerful industrialist Thaddeus Valentine (Hugo Weaving). The would-be assassin, Hester (Hera Hilmar), blames Thaddeus for her mother’s death. Events swiftly unravel as the machinations of evil do their best to prevent unspeakable secrets from being discovered.

Based on Phillip Reeve’s novel ‘Mortal Engines’ is a collage of famous moments from other films. ‘Star Wars’ and the ‘Indiana Jones’ series receive nods amongst the dazzling CGI. Whilst such copying would sink similar productions, ‘Mortal Engines’ thrives due to its novel concept and fine performances. The screenplay and Christian Rivers’ strong direction ensure things feel fresh and move at a great pace. They assure you are fully invested in this odd universe of mechanical marvels and fully fleshed out characters.

Weaving has a grand time as a very wicked villain as does the rest of the cast who dive into the fantastical antics with gusto. The special effects and photography are excellent with the musical score pleasing to the ears. Although the story relies on contrived clichés it’s an amiable enough ride with the villainy and heroics captivating in equal measures. The imaginative scope and the film’s scale demand it be seen on a big screen with a genuinely tense race to the fiery finale.

Amidst a glut of sci-fi and fantasy films ‘Mortal Engines’ carves a solid place amongst the crowd. It is entertaining escapist fun without the cynical heart others have. Fans of such works should enjoy it with the steampunk movement sure to receive a boost from this magical caper.

Rating out of 10: 7

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