The Dove Take:
Epic, entertainingly self-assured, and unironic, Mortal Engines has some potentially questionable content and seriously unintentional hilarity.
In a post-apocalyptic world where cities ride on wheels and consume each other to survive, two people meet in London and try to stop a conspiracy.
In the theater, the gentleman sitting next to me said:
“I’ve never seen a movie believe in itself more.”
And, wow, does Mortal Engines believe in itself. It rolls its way along with almost absurd seriousness— and serious absurdity—fueled with enthusiastic energy and freed from the weight of irony.
It takes guts for a film to stare down an audience with so much conviction, especially when it opens with a mobile city chasing another city even before the title. It shares its self-confidence before it even tells us its name. Who does it think it is? It’s Mortal Engines, and it can be pretty entertaining. Its energy is a highlight, and it can be fun to participate in that energy as an audience. Even the unintentional humor, amidst scenes supposed to be serious, can be epic; it’s not just a giggle from the audience, it’s laughter louder than some comedies. Then it moves on to more action, more action, and more action.
Though there may be some positive aspects, there’s content to be aware of: the violence could be upsetting (a young girl gets her face slashed), and characters being sold at an auction as slaves, plus more.
Mortal Engines might not be a flawless film, but it certainly thinks otherwise. For those ready for the content and attitude, it could be a blast. For others, Mortal Engines’ flaws may not be worth the trip.
Due to the content, Mortal Engines is not Dove-Approved.