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497. Mortal Engines; movie review

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Title : 497. Mortal Engines; movie review
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Cert 12A
128 mins
BBFC advice: Contains moderate violence, threat

It was with considerable trepidation that Master W, back for the Christmas holidays, and I entered screen one at Nottingham Cineworld.
After all, this was the last screening of one of the biggest box office bombs in recent years.
So, how did Mortal Engines fare? Could it possibly be as bad as its $100m deficit suggests?
In our opinion, no, it isn't. True, Christian Rivers' film isn't overly memorable but I have seen a lot worse movies in 2018.
Indeed, I proclaimed it to be much more accessible than the recent Fantastic Beasts film.
Peter Jackson was one of the producers and its vast sweeping scenes and scale of its battles certainly have his hallmark.
Otherwise, it is a fairly standard dystopian struggle between the power-crazed and the righteous.
Hugo Weaving is the former - the driving force behind the city of London which is one of the many to break from the earth's crust after a near planet-ending seismic event.
The city is now on caterpillar tracks (don't ask me how) and is darting around Europe as its citizens strive to devour small towns in order to survive.
The fly in the ointment is a grieved young woman (Hera Hilmar) who finds her way on to London in order to take out revenge on Weaving's character for a murder.
She ends up finding an unlikely ally in a proud Londoner (Robert Sheehan) who is flung out of the city of the same time.
They struggle for survival in the wild world outside of the moving city and, after encounters with many strange folk, they realise that they need to stop London's advance.
That probably reads more complex than Mortal Engine is. The shorthand is that two idealistic young people band with others to take on a power-hungry mad scientist.
The back story is peripheral (we do get to understand the young woman's motivation) but it is, in any case, secondary to the action.
And, to be fair, the special effects are impressive. I was particularly taken with the detail of London's rolling city.
Master W is a huge fan of Peter Jackson's Lord Of The Rings work and has often explained their content to me.
His verdict on Mortal Engines? "All right. Not as bad as the critics say." I concur.

Reasons to watch: Admirable special effects, decent action and an ok story
Reasons to avoid: Doesn't stretch its audience and isn't any better than other movies of its ilk

Laughs: None
Jumps: None
Vomit: None
Nudity: None
Overall rating: 7/10

Director quote - Christian Rivers: "our budget was much smaller than you’d expect for a film with this much in the way of special effects.  We had to be smart about it.  A lot of visual effects-heavy films creep up to the $200 million mark and we were sitting down around half that. There’s always a balance with how much you want to spend with how much you’re allowed to spend.'

The big question - When did $100m become low-budget?

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