During our IMAX screening, one word repeatedly popped into my head. “Waste”   So, let’s talk about Waste.

A WASTE of Resources

The main plot motivator (apparently) has to do with natural resources in this wanna-be steampunk post-apocalyptic world set roughly 1,000 years in the future.  But as concerned as the characters claim to be, there doesn’t seem to be a real shortage of anything, except common sense.  There is also (apparently) an ongoing war/struggle/uprising(?) between those who live on massive mobile cities and the “Anti-Tracksers”, those who stay in normal “static” cities.  London, now a ludicrously large mobile city is able to chase down smaller mobile towns and assimilate them, with their main goal being (apparently) to chop up and burn the smaller towns for fuel.  It’s a shame no one seems to realize they are expending more energy chasing down these scraps than they gain by the capture, not to mention all of the new citizens that will need to be fed, housed, etc.

A Waste of Talent

Peter Jackson has been hyping this movie for a while now, and even shares a writing credit, but after seeing the film, one wonders why he would want his name on it at all?  There’s also been a featurette released that talks about how Stephen Lang was used to voice and motion capture the pure CGI character Shrike.  Sadly, his voice is manipulated so much in post they could have used anyone, and his motions look so robotic they would have been better off using stock motion capture files.  Hugo Weaving makes the most of his situation by chewing as much scenery as he can regardless of the conversation or situation the writers have deposited him in.

A WASTE of Characters

As bad as various elements of the story are, there are some characters that we yearn to know more about.  Sometimes it’s a trick, as when the camera lingers far too long on a new character’s introduction as rousing music plays. Oh! Who is this? They must be important! One such character has no real purpose in the film except to push an important button at the very end.  While others reveal a potentially fascinating backstory right before they are removed from the movie.  It’s incredibly frustrating to finally have a reason to be invested in the film, and then have it snatched away!

A WASTE of Production Design

There is a mind-boggling amount of creative production design in this movie.  Every vehicle, big or small, is very unique and incredibly detailed.  Costumes, weapons, tech, -everything- is visually engaging.  Someone spent a lot of time designing all of this and their passion for it is clearly visible on the screen.  It’s a shame it wasn’t used in a better movie.

A WASTE of time

Once it became clear I was watching yet another, poorly slapped together Young Adult Fiction movie that was equally too epic and too basic for its 2hr+ runtime, I realized I’d never get that time back in my life.  By the time we got to the Star Wars rip-offs (including an “I am your father” moment), I could feel my brain cells wasting away.
With all the movies currently out in theatres, and a few more releasing before the end of the year, I can think of no reason to waste your time or money on this atrocity.

Mortal Engines