The premise of Mortal Engines is NOT post-apocalyptic, totalitarian cities turned into gigantic Roving Engines of destruction fighting for dwindling resources on a ravaged earth.
It is a beat per beat rip off of Star Wars set in a dystopian SteamPunk future.
Mortal Engines doesn’t suck because of plagiarism of Star Wars.
It fucking sucks because it failed so miserably in its attempt to pull it off.
It sucks because all the pieces of the puzzle were there including Hugo Weaving, Peter Jackson and the team behind the Lord of The Rings trilogy making steampunk Star Wars and they still found a way to fuck it up.
It sucks because it should have been a home run and it failed. It’s honestly probably marginally better than The Last Jedi and certainly more original but that’s as faint of praise as it gets since the JJ trilogy sucks cornshit out of a crackhead’s ass.
Here’s the official plot:
Darth Hugo Weaving the leader of the London Empire wants to destroy the Rebel Alliance — in this case, the fucking remnants of Communist Chinese.
Yes, the Fucking Communist Chinese are the altruistic rebels and The British are the Space Nazis. Good choice throwing all in with the Chinese box office and telling the west to fuck off, guys.
Anyway, Darth Weaving has secretly been assembling a mega Death Star weapon which he wants to use to destroy the remnants of the Chinese Communist heroic Rebel Alliance and it’s up to a ragtag group of fighter pilots to infiltrate the Death Star’s defenses and knock out its power supply before the turbo laser beam can reach the target.
The opening scene of the movie recreates the opening of a New Hope with London taking the place of a Star Destroyer running down and overtaking a small nondescript City, taking the place of Leia’s Correlian Corvette Blockade Runner, with Leia on board.
Along the way, we meet Communist gender neutral Han Solo, Limey Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia with a scar on her face (who happens to be the daughter of Darth Weaving).
There’s also a really cool droid man thing that may or may not have a human brain in it, a hodgepodge of a Vader, General Grevious, etc. It’s up to Communist gender neutral Han Solo to smuggle Limey Luke and Scarface Leia in her Steampunk Millennium Falcon into Rebel territory.
How Do You Fuck Up This Cool Premise?
Well, first, it’s just boring for one; with piss poor execution.
And two, besides Hugo Weaving and maybe Limey Skywalker the cast is bland as fuck. Gender neutral Communist Han Solo has all the charisma of a bag of dirty diapers.
It doesn’t work.
Note to Peter Jackson, who of all people should know this: Star Wars and Star Trek worked because we loved the characters. Each is a fucking icon and until SJW lameness and pandering took over Hollywood, each an archetype to aspire for when casting big budget sci fi/ action hero space operas.
I also happen to know, as a fan of Hong Kong cinema, there are plenty of Chinese actors with level’s of charisma to rival our beloved Wars/trek icons. There were two in Rogue One, Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen, with many in the audience feeling that Donnie Yen stole the show. Andy Lau, Karen Mok, Tony Leung, Stephen Chow all talented icons in their own right who could have been cast if you feel compelled to appeal to the Asian market.
But we all know that modern casting directors cast based on emulating the look of a United Colors of Benetton catalog not an understanding of audience appeal or talent.
And thus we got gender neutral communist Han Solo instead of an interesting Stephen Chow spin on Han Solo or Karen Mok or anyone even remotely interesting.
I know this was based on a mediocre book but whoever thought to make the Limeys evil and the fucking Chinese communists the zen GoodGuises may also want to rethink that as well. I understand pandering to Chinese box office but there could have been compelling ways to do so that don’t tell potential West box office to fuck off entirely.
So there you have it. Peter Jackson fucked up Steampunk Star Wars.
1 Star ⭐️ out of 5
Half Star for Hugo Weaving cause he’s still the man even in a shitty movie and another half for the premise.