I knew the marketing behind Mortal Engines would probably get in the way. We all heard that. We heard it weeks before the movie even came out. So I wanted to find out just how much it did get in the way. And it was a lot.
It is kind of hard to blame the marketing team though, because while the movie had a story it wanted to tell, I fear that it may have told the wrong one. This movie was ambitious to say the least. It was beautiful and it was acted superbly. Heavy hitters like Robert Sheehan and Hugo Weaving knocked it out of the park. So why didn’t I like it that much? I think it is because of Shrike (Stephen Lang). That character should have gotten his own movie. That should have been the story. Love conquers all. That was it. But after we see that plot line settled, the movie goes on for another hour.
If we could have gotten that story as the first in maybe a trilogy, I think the characters would have resonated with us for us to actually care what happened to them. As it stood, I just didn’t. I already knew who was expendable, already knew how it would play out. Some movies play like that and it is all about the joy of watching it unfold. This was not one of those. I just can’t get past that arc of Esther Shaw’s (Hera Hilmar) pseudo father and her admitting that she loved Tom (Sheehan). Once that happened, it felt like the scene in Armageddon when Bruce Willis sees Liv Tyler and you realize his “life” just flashed before his eyes and it was all her. It was beautiful. And I feel like the movie squandered that moment, because it felt irrelevant.
I guess ultimately it doesn’t really matter. They will probably not be making another one. The movie cost $100 million to make and only grossed $16 million domestically. Overseas it did better, with $67 million. But that still only brings the total to $83 million. So I doubt they green-light a sequel.