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Movie Reviews
'Mortal Engines'
(PG / 111 mins)

Overview: Hundreds of years after civilization was destroyed by a cataclysmic event, a mysterious young woman, Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar), emerges as the only one who can stop London -- now a giant, predator city on wheels -- from devouring everything in its path.

Feral, and fiercely driven by the memory of her mother, Hester joins forces with Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan), an outcast from London, along with Anna Fang (Jihae), a dangerous outlaw with a bounty on her head.

Verdict: In truth, and no matter what you've heard, there is a lot to like about the post-apocalyptic film 'Mortal Engines.'

The movie, directed by Christian Rivers, is visually stunning. The team of screenwriters — Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson — proved with "The Lord of the Rings" they can do epic films well, and this big-budget picture is no exception.

The world has been ruined by a “60-minute war” that took out much of civilization, but the stark landscape makes for an interesting backdrop as you watch the main characters run for their lives.

The giant, steampunk contraption that London has become rolls along, consuming other cities in its path. It is a fascinating blend of old technology and modern ideas. The ideas of territory and borders have become obsolete as London rumbles across the Earth in search of resources.

You can ponder the meaning of civilization and how people treat each other in a society where people who are relegated to the lower rungs of society are literally kept underground.

And if you like action, the movie delivers fight and chase scenes in abundance. The actress Jihae (from the television series "Mars") has a couple of thrilling fight scenes as Anna Fang, as does newcomer Hera Hilmar as Hester Shaw.

But 'Mortal Engines' leaves a lot of unanswered questions.

For example, much of the plot revolves around a city lacking technology and resources, but there are fantastic flying machines that seem to have plenty of power and advanced weaponry.

And given that those advances are possible, why haven’t the people figured out ways to use what resources are left (snow-capped mountains?) more efficiently.

Maybe some of those questions are answered in the 2001 Philip Reeves novel of the same name upon which the film is based. But even at two hours and eight minutes, the film doesn't have time to tie up all of its loose ends, or maybe it doesn't mean to.

Perhaps those plot lines will be better developed in a sequel or three. Reeves has four novels in this series. Ergo, 'Mortal Engines' is an entertaining movie if you don’t ask to many questions of the story and stick to what’s put in front of you onscreen.





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