Christian Rivers' MORTAL ENGINES
A movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
It helps if you are still able to view an adventure film through an adolescent lens.
I was intrigued as I read the drumbeat of negative reviews of MORTAL ENGINES. I had seen the previews over the past few months and admit to some disinterest given the likely over-reliance on special effects that has made me weary of widescreen CGI slamfests. But I was also reminded of films like JOHN CARTER, JUPITER ASCENDING, A WRINKLE IN TIME, and TOMORROWLAND -- all films universally panned and troubled but all enormously entertaining.
So I went last night to see MORTAL ENGINES (in IMAX 3D) and was very pleasantly surprised. While the 3D is just OK and the story elements a bit predictable, the production values, sound, action, and interesting characters make the film enormously entertaining.
Sets and art direction are out of this world yet rooted in a recognizable though fanciful reality. For those whose eyes glaze over at the terms "dystopian" and "steampunk" what we see on screen here is both original and outrageous.
Finally, the film reminded me at times of a masterful amalgamation of sci-fi anime and graphic novel that combines huge clanking machines and fanciful aircraft, all swirling around a cast of bright, young, and intense characters.
Sure, we've seen many of these elements before in bits and pieces but not in such an artistically grand and fun package. Recommended, especially if you are still capable of viewing media through an adolescent lens!
Review copyright (c) 2018 by Dennis D. McDonald