Starring: Robert Sheehan, Hera Hilmar, Hugo Weaving, Jihae, Leila George, Ronan Raftery, Stephen Lang, Patrick Malahide, Colin Salmon, Regé-Jean Page
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
Sci-fi action adventure directed by Christian Rivers and written by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Peter Jackson. Mortal Engines is set in a post-apocalyptic world, in which thousands of years after civilization was destroyed by a cataclysmic event, humankind has adapted and a new way of living has evolved. Gigantic moving cities now roam the Earth, ruthlessly preying upon smaller traction towns. Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan), who hails from a Lower Tier of the great traction city of London, finds himself fighting for his own survival after he encounters the dangerous fugitive Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar). Two opposites, whose paths should never have crossed, forge an unlikely alliance that is destined to change the course of the future.
Shrike: Sixty minutes is all it took for the Ancients to bring humanity to the brink of extinction. Those who survived mobilized their settlements to begin life anew upon a poisoned Earth. In the hunt for food and fuel, the weak perished, and the strong grew ever more powerful. Until a new age arose, the Age of the Great Predator Cities of the West.
Katherine Valentine: [referring to the map of the earth] It’s strange to think this is what it looked like.
Tom Natsworthy: 21st century? Yep.
Katherine Valentine: It’s so different.
Tom Natsworthy: Well, that’s what happens when the Earth’s crust gets shattered into a thousand pieces.
Katherine Valentine: How can a society so advanced, so scientific, be so stupid?
Tom Natsworthy: Well, no more stupid than people today. They just had far worse weapons, and far more sophisticated control systems.
Tom Natsworthy: [as Hester approaches Valentine and takes out her knife] Hey, watch out!
Hester Shaw: [stabs Valentine] Valentine, this is for my mother. This is for my mother.
Hester Shaw: [referring to Valentine] Look at me. Look at me. This is what he does when you get in his way. Ask him why he murdered my mother. Ask him about Hester Shaw.
[she let’s go of Tom’s hand and drops down the waste chute]
Tom Natsworthy: No. No!
Tom Natsworthy: [after Hester falls down the waste chute] I tried. I tried to stop her.
Thaddeus Valentine: It’s not your fault.
Tom Natsworthy: She was saying the craziest things, and then she just…
Thaddeus Valentine: What did she say?
Tom Natsworthy: You need a doctor.
Thaddeus Valentine: No, no. What did she say, Tom?
Tom Natsworthy: She said you murdered her mother.
Thaddeus Valentine: Murder? That’s an ugly word. I’m sorry you had to hear that.
Tom Natsworthy: Yeah. Well, I should go.
Thaddeus Valentine: Yeah, you should.
[suddenly he pushes Tom down the waste chute]
Dr. Twix: [referring to Valentine being stabbed by Hester] I hear you suffered an injury this morning. You never told me Pandora Shaw had a daughter. She could be a problem.
Thaddeus Valentine: She won’t stop until I’m dead.
Dr. Twix: Unless you kill her first.
Tom Natsworthy: [as they are being chased] What the hell are Southies?
Hester Shaw: Scavs on a night hunt.
Tom Natsworthy: What are they hunting?
Hester Shaw: Us.
Mrs. Wreyland: [referring to Hester] Not much of a talker, is she, your girlfriend?
Tom Natsworthy: Oh, no, no, no, no. She’s not my girlfriend.
Mrs. Wreyland: Of course not. Handsome boy like you. You can do much better.
Tom Natsworthy: Alright, well, good night, Mrs. Wreyland.
Mrs. Wreyland: [as Tom goes to shut the door] Oh, dear. There I go, putting me foot in it. I didn’t mean…
Tom Natsworthy: No, I know what you meant.
[shuts the door in her face]
Hester Shaw: [to Tom ] I was eight years-old when my mother died. She was an archaeologist. She loved traveling the world and digging up the past.
Hester Shaw: [referring to Valentine] He used to visit all the time. He’d spend hours poring over the things that she had found. Then one day, everything changed. She’d found something on one of her digs in Lost America. Something he wanted.
Tom Natsworthy: What was it?
Hester Shaw: I don’t know.
Hester Shaw: But he killed her for it.
[in flashback we see Valentine stabbing Pandora, and slashing young Hester’s face with his sword]
Pandora Shaw: Run, Hester!
Thaddeus Valentine: Hester!
Hester Shaw: He would have killed me too. But I got away.
Thaddeus Valentine: The last of the Lazarus Brigade. Resurrected from the sleep of death.
Shrike: I do not sleep.
Thaddeus Valentine: No, you’ve been hunting her, haven’t you? Hunting Hester Shaw. Why? Answer me.
Shrike: She broke her promise.
Thaddeus Valentine: What happens when you find her? What happens when you find Hester Shaw?
Shrike: I will kill her.
Tom Natsworthy: See, I knew you wouldn’t leave me.
Hester Shaw: Shut up and run.
Hester Shaw: You saved our lives. Why?
Anna Fang: You don’t trust anybody, do you? Just like your mother. You look like her, too.
Hester Shaw: You knew her?
Anna Fang: Pandora Shaw was the bravest woman I ever met. After she died, I looked for you. I looked for a long time. Like everybody else, I thought you were dead. When I heard you were alive, it made me wonder, how did an eight year-old girl survive all alone in the Outlands? Now I know.
Tom Natsworthy: [referring to Shrike] You were raised by that corpse.
Hester Shaw: You don’t know what you’re talking about.
Tom Natsworthy: Actually, I do.
Hester Shaw: No, you don’t.
Tom Natsworthy: I’ve studied them.
Hester Shaw: You’ve studied them?
Tom Natsworthy: I know a lot about the Resurrected.
Hester Shaw: You don’t know anything about him.
Tom Natsworthy: The people who created them were insane. Off the charts crazy. They took all the worst parts of themselves.
Hester Shaw: Shut up.
Tom Natsworthy: All the savagery and cruelty and hatred, and poured it into these machines, these monsters.
Hester Shaw: [pushes Tom in anger] Shut up! He saved my life.
Anna Fang: [as Hester leaves] You’re an idiot.
Shrike: You are sad. Always sad, Hester Shaw. Your heart is broken. I will take away the pain.
Shrike: I will remake you, as I was remade.
Hester Shaw: You’re going to kill me.
Shrike: For a little while.
Hester Shaw: [referring to Shrike] I made him a promise. I would become like him. My flesh, steel. My nerves, wire. My mind wiped clean. No thoughts. No feelings. Nothing. I would be free.
Tom Natsworthy: If that’s what you wanted, why did you leave?
Hester Shaw: Because six months ago, London crossed the land bridge, and Thaddeus Valentine came within my reach.
Hester Shaw: This is about my mother, isn’t it?
Anna Fang: Before she died, Pandora found something. Something dangerous. She was afraid of Valentine, of what he might do. She said, if anything should happen to her, I was to find you. That you could stop him.
Hester Shaw: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Anna Fang: Think. Think hard. You must remember.
Hester Shaw: He took something from her.
Anna Fang: What? What did he take?
Hester Shaw: A piece of old tech.
Captain Khora: What kind of old tech?
Hester Shaw: I don’t know.
Tom Natsworthy: She was eight years-old. She doesn’t remember.
Nils Lindstrom: Then perhaps you can help us, Londoner.
Thaddeus Valentine: Nothing can stand in the face of this. Not the battle hammers of Arkangel, not the howitzers of Panzerstadt. Not even the guns of the Anti-Tractionists. In the great game of survival, this is checkmate.
Magnus Crome: You mean to go to war. You cannot ignore the lessons of the past as if they count for nothing.
Thaddeus Valentine: There are no lessons to be learned from the past. History doesn’t care. It is dead. This is the future. The man who controls this, controls the world.
Magnus Crome: Is there no end to your ambition? You control nothing. Shut this down!
Thaddeus Valentine: You cling to the past as if it can save you. You’re a relic of a dying age. A dinosaur.
Magnus Crome: What does that make you?
Thaddeus Valentine: Me? I’m the meteor.
[he shoots Crome]
Hester Shaw: [referring to Tom] No! Stop! Stop, Shrike! Stop. You’re going to kill him.
Shrike: You will not remember him.
Hester Shaw: No. I’m the one. I’m the one you came for. Let him go! Let him live.
Shrike: You are crying. He hurt you!
Hester Shaw: No. He can’t die. He can’t. He can’t! He can’t.
Shrike: You love him?
[Hester doesn’t reply]
Hester Shaw: [as Shrike is dying] Shrike? No! No, Shrike!
Shrike: [gives Hester the necklace Pandora gave her before she died] This belongs to you. I release you from your promise, Hester Shaw.
Hester Shaw: [Shrike falls back as he dies] Shrike. Shrike!
Thaddeus Valentine: [giving a speech to Londoners] The world is changing. London must now look beyond Municipal Darwinism and move into a new age. Tonight, we set a course for the savage heartland of the Anti-Traction League. The Shield Wall of Shan Guo and the lands beyond will become our new hunting ground.
Thaddeus Valentine: [giving a speech to Londoners] For centuries, Traction Cities have attempted to breach the wall. Their rotting carcasses lie at its base. But that will not be our fate. Tonight, London is going to demonstrate its new power, a power that will sweep all before it. Tonight, we take the fight to Shan Guo.
Anna Fang: London is fast approaching. Governor, launch the fleet. We cannot wait.
Governor Kwan: What are you suggesting? A preemptive strike?
Anna Fang: Destroy Medusa before it destroys us.
Tom Natsworthy: No, no, no. You can’t do that.
Sathya: What choice do we have? We didn’t start this, but we will finish it.
Tom Natsworthy: Now, hang on a minute, alright? Listen to me. There has to be another way! There are thousands of innocent people on that city. They don’t deserve to die!
Governor Kwan: No, they do not. Nor do we seek to harm the innocent. Understand, life is precious to the Shan Guonese. So believe me when I say this, if there was another way, I would take it.
Tom Natsworthy: No. It’s my home.
Tom Natsworthy: We have to get to London!
Captain Khora: Are you crazy?! They’re going to fire that weapon again!
Hester Shaw: Not if we shut it down. The crash drive. My mother gave it to me.
Anna Fang: Are you sure you want to do this? Once we go in, there’s no going back.
Hester Shaw: I have to. For my mom.
Anna Fang: For Pandora.
Anna Fang: [gives Hester a weapon] Hester! Take this. And stay out of sight until I give you the signal.
Hester Shaw: What signal? How will I know?
Anna Fang: Trust me, you’ll know. I’m not that subtle.
Thaddeus Valentine: Thank God you’re safe. We need to go.
Katherine Valentine: How could you? How many lives have you taken? And for what?
Thaddeus Valentine: I did what I had to. This city was dying. I tried to save it.
Katherine Valentine: Stop lying to me. You didn’t do this for any noble cause. You did it for yourself, for the power that it gave you.
Thaddeus Valentine: That’s not true. Kate, we have to go. We have to go now. Trust me, as you once did. I can save us both.
Katherine Valentine: Save us from what? The weapon’s destroyed. The wall is still standing. You’ve failed.
Thaddeus Valentine: Failed? You really don’t know me, do you? That wall is coming down.
Katherine Valentine: What have you done?
Thaddeus Valentine: Don’t go up there. Katherine!
Hester Shaw: I will kill you.
Thaddeus Valentine: I know you will. Whatever the world throws at you, you fight it, claw your way back. You don’t give up. You are so like me. Your mother never told you, did she? But then, I guess she didn’t need to, because you already knew. Hester.
[Hester sees flashback of Valentine and her mother kissing and realizes that he is her father]
Hester Shaw: So, what happens now?
Tom Natsworthy: We go where the wind takes us. See the world. What do you say?
Hester Shaw: I’m coming with you.
[she smiles, runs into his arms and they embrace]