söndag 17 februari 2019

Mortal Engines

Futuristic science fiction movies have always had a special place in my heart. Especially the films that dares to mix different styles, and still make the film look very futuristic. We have a lot of really good titles to choose between when it comes to futuristic science fiction films. So i have picked out 2 great examples. Let´s begin with director Neil Blomkamp´s film District 9, released in 2009. This film had a very intelligent plot but also looks incredible well made, considering the budget at 30 million U.S. dollars. The film takes place in the South African city of Johannesburg. Aliens landed here in the year of 1982, and were placed inside District 9, not to be mixed with the human population. Almost 30 years later, District 9 is now a slum, and locals complain about the behavior of aliens, being filthy and ignorant lawbreakers. The government hires Multinational United ( MNU ), a huge weapons manufacturer, to relocate the aliens into a new camp outside the city. One of the employees of MNU named Wikus van de Merwe ( Sharlto Copley ) is chosen to lead the relocation. By accident, Wikus spray his face with a liquid, that will make him a mutation of an alien. District 9 was one of the best sci fi movies of 2009, and i still think this is one of the best films from director Neil Blomkamp. The plot is really well written, and the acting is also one of the details that i really enjoy about this film. If you have not seen District 9 yet, you have to go and watch it on Netflix, or rent it. I would even say that it´s worth buying on Blu Ray, since this will be a cult classic in the future. The 1999 cult classic movie The Matrix, is perhaps one of the best science fiction action movies in over 20 years. When this film came out, The Matrix became an enormous box office hit worldwide and had a huge cult following. Directors The Wachowskis made a science fiction film that was both really original, but also very intelligent. Actor Keanu Reeves did his best performance in many years with this film, and i still consider this film to be one of his most classic movies. The sequels were also good, but the first film will always be the best in the Matrix franchise. Director Peter Jackson have made a lot of really good films such as Braindead and The Lord Of The Rings franchise. When i heard he was going to be one of the producers on a new film called Mortal Engines, i became curious. It turns out that this film is based on the first novel in author Philip Reeve´s quartet of the same name. I have not read any of the books, but i decided to watch the film anyway. Is this an epic science fiction adventure movie, or is Mortal Engines a disaster from start to finish ?

After a cataclysmic conflict known as the Sixty Minute War, the remnants of humanity regroup and form mobile " predator " cities. Under a philosophy known as " Municipal Darwinism ", larger cities hunt and absorb smaller settlements in the " Great Hunting Ground " which include Great Britain and Continental Europe. The city of London capture a small mining town Salzhaken, absorbing it´s population and resources, under orders of Lord Mayor Magnus Crome ( Patrick Malahide ). A masked woman, known as Hester Shaw ( Hera Hilmar ) is looking for Thaddeus Valentine ( Hugo Weaving ), Head of the Guild of Historians, to assassinate him. Thaddeus murdered Hester´s mother Pandora Shaw ( Caren Pistorius ). As Hester tries to assassinate Thaddeus, Apprentice Historian Tom Natsworthy ( Robert Sheehan ) intervenes. Hester escapes, and Thaddeus push Tom down the chute for his information on what he have been told about Hester and her mother. Both Tom and Hester are now out in the Great Hunting Ground, as they team up to survive out there. Hester is determined to assassinate Thaddeus, but the journey back there is long, and she knows what Thaddeus is planning to do, build the super weapon MEDUSA, that can destroy cities in an instant.

Mortal Engines feels like a mixture of a lot of different sci fi movies, almost like a mixture of Jupiter Ascending, Cloud Atlas, Mad Max and other similar films. Does this mean that this is a movie you might as well skip ? Well, i have to say that this is a film i actually enjoyed, for different reasons. First of all i enjoy the concept of motor engine cities, riding through the landscape. This is definitely different, and i appreciate that. I also enjoy the revenge story of the young woman Hester Shaw, played by actress Hera Himlar. She is actually the coolest character in this film as an assassin, who have sworn to kill Thaddeus Valentine. The character Hera looks cool with her mask, and her disfigured face. The performance from actress Hera Himlar is also one of the highlights of this film, even if there are some details, i would have liked to know more about her. One of the other cool characters of this film is the reanimated cyborg Shrike, who is looking for Hera. Shrike has a cool design, and i like the way this cyborg is introduced, as a stone cold deadly machine. I will get into something else i think is good about this film later, but let´s get into something negative. There are some characters that give a very weak performance, such as actor Leif Sigurdarson. His character named Nils Lindstrom ( sounds like a Scandinavian name right ? ) is really bad. He looks like a combination of Italian model Fabio and speak with a Schwarzenegger accent. I am sure he is a nice guy in ordinary day life, but he needs to improve his acting. Actor Regé-Jean Page as the character Captain Khora is another example of bad acting. If he only could have made his character more rough, and more interesting, i believe i would have been more interested. Now let´s get back to the positive again. The big motor cities looks cool, while the hunt is on for smaller settlements. The CGI effects may not be groundbreaking, but it works for a film like this. The action scenes are enjoyable for the most part, and if you enjoy odd characters you will find some on the way. It is nice to see legendary actor Hugo Weaving here as the evil Thaddeus Valentine. Director Christian Rivers ( who have worked for many years as a story artist and visual effects supervisor on Peter Jackson´s movies ) have made a science fiction adventure movie that will most likely be appreciated by fans of Cloud Atlas. I would not say this film is as good as Cloud Atlas, but i still feel that Mortal Engines is a good time if you love this genre. Looking for a good choice for pizza movie night with a couple of beers ? I would say this one should fit right in.

Rating: DDD

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