Picture Mad Max, but with cities instead of cars, and you’ve basically got Mortal Engines, the new Peter Jackson movie coming out late next year. Jackson has embarked on another epic saga with this adaptation of the post-apocalyptic book of the same name. There’s a while to go until it comes out, but a first teaser trailer has already been released, showing a desert chase scene between two colossal machines.
Mortal Engines is based on the first book of the Predator Cities series by Philip Reeve. The series is set in a distant future where the world lies in ruins following the “sixty minute war”. Mobile cities mounted on giant caterpillar tracks roam the wastelands, preying upon smaller factions. We get to see this process in the trailer, where a towering, mechanised London devours a much smaller vehicle.
The upcoming New Zealand-American sci-fi will be Peter Jackson’s first big film since The Hobbit trilogy several years ago. He will write and produce alongside his fellow Lord of the Rings partners Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. Christian Rivers, who’s worked with Jackson on most of his films, will direct.
The movie will star Robert Sheehan (The Mortal Instruments, Misfits) as Londoner Tom Natsworthy, and Hera Hilmar (Anna Karenina, Davinci’s Demons) as Outlander Hester Shaw, the two unlikely protagonists of the story. Joining them in the cast will be Hugo Weaving, Jihae, Ronan Raftery, Leila George, Patrick Malahide, and Stephen Lang.
The huge scale of the trailer gives some idea of the story’s grand scope. As there are three more books in the series, it’s likely this will be the first in a quadrilogy of films. Jackson seems to want to stay in the business of epic, multi-part tales, as Mortal Engines looks to be another Lord of the Rings-style saga.
The Hobbit films were criticised for spreading their source material too thin in order to stretch to three movies. At least with these novels there’s plenty of plot to go around, so it hopefully won’t feel overly padded. The movie looks different enough, with it’s vast deserts and mechanical, steampunk feel, that it could inject a fresh weirdness into Jackson’s saga structure.
Mortal Engines will be released on December 14th 2018.