The first trailer for Mortal Engines was reportedly supposed to premiere alongside The Last Jedi at the tail end of 2017, but it was nowhere to be seen. It’s a little late here in 2018, but now we have our first full look. The new epic being produced and co-written by Lord Of The Rings director Peter Jackson and directed by Christian Rivers is based on the series of novels by Philip Reeve which sees the world brought down by The Sixty Minute War, leaving governments in ruins, giant tank cities preying on each other for resources, “anti-traction” areas, and a few other places spread out across the globe. It’s definitely a wikihole to fall down into.
As you can see in the trailer, London is a big and mean city that is gobbling up the smaller towns out in what is left of Europe and Asia. It’s got shades of Mad Max, a dash of Bioshock or Dishonored, some Fallout, and a few other post-apocalyptic favorites we’ve experienced over the years. Jackson re-teamed with Hobbit screenwriters Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens according to Variety, covering the first book in Reeve’s series:
Robert Sheehan stars as museum apprentice Tom Natsworthy from the city of London who finds himself fighting for his own survival after he encounters the dangerous fugitive assassin Hester Shaw, played by Hera Hilmar, and forges an unlikely alliance that is destined to change the course of the future. Hugo Weaving, Jihae, Ronan Raftery, Leila George, Patrick Malahide, and Stephen Lang also star.
The trailer indicates the film is not skimping on the special effects, though projects like Valerian and Jupiter Ascending come to mind which can’t be a good thing. Luckily, this seems to be avoiding the science fiction elements that can turn people off to focus on a steampunk world that will carry some familiarity for viewers.
The film will hit theaters on December 14th alongside Sony’s Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse, giving both a week before Bumblebee and Aquaman and two weeks before Disney’s Mary Poppins sequel.