Peter Jackson Tackles another beloved Fantasy. Mortal Engines.
Coming to the big screen on December 14, 2018 is one of my most anticipated films in a season when film blockbusters traditionally battle it out for the holidays. Based on the books from Paul Reeves, published in 2001, the steampunk dystopian thriller is a set of books that has too long been on my TBR. It was reported in 2009, in Bloody Disgusting, that director Peter Jackson had his sights set on the adaptation and has apparently been secretly developing this release for almost nine years.
I discovered the teaser trailer last year and it really piqued my interest, but alas, I have yet to read these books. I’ll be enjoying the film before I read the novels as is my habit when I’m somewhat unfamiliar with the material yet. I missed these titles when they were originally published. In 2001 I didn’t know Steampunk existed as a genre and I wouldn’t have been browsing the YA market they were placed in. Nowadays, I find Steampunk highly entertaining and am always looking for interesting stories in the genre. I find I usually enjoy the screenplay much more when I have nothing to compare it to, or criticize it for by comparing it to the books. For me, reading the originals afterward just enriches the experience as you discover the details which simply never seem to make the screen. I’m seeking the entertainment value of the big screen first on this one. I saw the newest trailer in the theater this week and I’ll certainly read the books after watching this amazing looking film if it meets my expectations and judging from the visuals in the stunning trailer below, I think it may possibly exceed them.
Synopsis from Book 1:
London is hunting again. Emerging from its hiding place in the hills, the great Traction City is chasing a terrified little town across the wastelands. Soon, London will feed.
In the attack, Tom Natsworthy is flung from the speeding city with a murderous scar-faced girl. They must run for their lives through the wreckage–and face a terrifying new weapon that threatens the future of the world.
Beloved storyteller Philip Reeve creates a brilliant new world in the Predator Cities series, called “phenomenal…violent and romantic, action-packed and contemplative, funny and frightening” by the Sunday Times.
*The Mortal Engines Quartet
is a tetralogy consisting of four novels written by the British
author Philip Reeve: Mortal Engines
(2001), Predator’s Gold
(2003), Infernal Devices
(2005), and A Darkling Plain
*The book is set in a post-apocalyptic world, ravaged by a “Sixty Minute War”, which caused massive geological upheaval. To escape the earthquakes, volcanoes, and other instabilities, a Nomad leader called Nikola Quercus (known as god Nicholas Quirke by the time of the book) installed huge engines and wheels on London, and enabled it to dismantle (or eat) other cities for resources. The technology rapidly spread, and evolved into what is known as “Municipal Darwinism”. Although the planet has since become stable, Municipal Darwinism has spread to most of the world except for Asia and parts of Africa. Much technological and scientific knowledge was lost during the war. Because scientific progress has almost completely halted, “Old Tech” is highly prized and recovered by scavengers and archaeologists. Europe, some of Asia, North Africa, Antarctica, and the Arctic are dominated by Traction Cities, whereas North America was so ravaged by the war that it is often identified as “the dead continent”, and the rest of the world is the stronghold of the Anti-Traction League, which seeks to keep cities from moving and thus stop the intense consumption of the planet’s remaining resources.
As the upcoming film suggests, the main focus of the screenplay, written by will take place in the intricacies of the Traction City of London.
London is the principal Traction City in the novel, which has returned to a Victorian-era society. London’s society is divided into four major and a number of minor Guilds. The Engineers are responsible for maintaining the machines necessary for the survival of London, many of which are found by the Guild of Historians. The Historians are in charge of collecting and preserving highly prized, often dangerous artifacts. The Navigators are responsible for steering and plotting the course of London. The Merchants are in charge of running London’s economy. London is officially ruled by an elected Mayor. The Lord Mayor is Magnus Crome, who is also the head of the Guild of Engineers. Like most Traction Cities, London is built on a series of tiers. This encourages the system of social classes, with the wealthier nobles at the top of the city and the lower classes further down, closer to the noise and pollution of the city’s massive engines. Atop the whole of London sits St Paul’s Cathedral: the only building known to have survived the Sixty Minute War. (Wiki)
Mortal Engines, directed by Peter Jackson. The screenplay was written by Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh , and Philippa Boyens, and is scheduled for release in the United States by Universal Pictures on December 14, 2018
Official trailer from Universal: