Peter Jackson is bringing Phillip Reeve‘s volatile steampunk novel series Mortal Engines to the big screen at the end of this year, and up until now, we’ve had little to go on as to what the film will be about. After the captivating teaser five months ago, the newest trailer gives is a more in-depth look at this world of mechanical behemoths and conspiracy.
Set in a post-apocalyptic world following a geologically disruptive war known as the “sixty minute war”, the earth has been reduced to an unstable wasteland and massive, mobilised cities roam the lands. In acts of what’s been dubbed “municipal Darwinism”, larger cities prey on the smaller, weaker towns for their resources, with London being the biggest and most predatory of them all.
The trailer shows off a number of these colossal, ramshackle cities as they roll, crawl and even fly their way around the wasteland. The trailer also gives us much more of the plot this time, revealing a conspiracy at the heart of the story relating to our protagonist Hester Shaw, played by Hera Hilmar (Anna Karenina).
Hester is an outcast with the sole goal of killing London historian Thaddeus Valentine (played by Hugo Weaving) to avenge her mother’s death. Robert Sheehan (Misfits) plays Tom Natsworthy, an apprentice historian of London, who we see attempting to protect Valentine in the trailer, and subsequently being thrown out of the moving city along with Hester.
Jihae also stars as the leader of a resistance movement, alongside Leila George, Ronan Raftery, Patrick Malahide and Stephen Lang.
The film is a mixed American and New Zealand production. Although produced under the Universal banner, the film is directed by Christian Rivers and written by Jackson and his fellow Lord of the Rings screenwriters Fran Walsh and Phillipa Boyens.
Jackson’s films have been a mixed bag since the Lord of the Rings trilogy, with his most recent Hobbit trilogy being largely criticised for applying a grand epic tone to a short children’s story. Jackson seems to do best when the scale of a film is large, and with scope of Mortal Engines looking appropriately massive, this could very well be the start of a brilliant new epic Jackson film series.