Universal Pictures released the first official trailer for Peter Jackon’s latest project. Mortal Engines follows the story as it takes place thousands of years after civilization was destroyed and in their place, gigantic moving cities roam the earth. Jackon co-wrote the screenplay with his Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings writing team of Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, based on the British series of novels by Philip Reeve for Scholastic.
Thousands of years after civilization was destroyed by a cataclysmic event, humankind has adapted and a new way of living has evolved. Gigantic moving cities now roam the Earth, ruthlessly preying upon smaller traction towns. Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan)—who hails from a Lower Tier of the great traction city of London—finds himself fighting for his own survival after he encounters the dangerous fugitive Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar). Two opposites, whose paths should never have crossed, forge an unlikely alliance that is destined to change the course of the future.
Check out the first trailer for Mortal Engines below:
The trailer delivers on some promising visuals, even though it does dig into some tired trailer tropes of the slowed-down popular songs, as well as the pretty burned-out look of most dystopian YA adaptations. However, Mortal Engines still looks energetic enough to pass as entertaining (perhaps something more, this is just a trailer after all). The roving city vehicles look like a steam-punk version of Miyazaki’s designs from Howl’s Moving Castle, and there is even some of Minas Tirith in the design of London. It’s what should be expected when you have the full force of Peter Jackson and his LOTR team of Weta Digital behind the film.
Lord of the Rings and fantasy vets including Hugo Weaving (The Lord of Rings and The Hobbit trilogies), Hera Hilmar (Da Vinci’s Demons), Robbie Sheehan (Fortitude, Geostorm), South Korean singer and actress Jihae (Mars), Ronan Raftery (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), Leila George (May I Sleep With Danger?), Patrick Malahide (Game of Thrones) and the guy we always wanted for Cable, Stephen Lang (who will apparently return in Avatar 2), all star in Mortal Engines.
Although this is being touted as a Peter Jackson project, it’s Christian Rivers who will sit in the director’s chair on this one. Jackson planned to adapt Reeve’s novel for the big screen were back in 2009. But shortly after the film’s announcement, Guillermo del Toro dropped out of directing The Hobbit for New Line Cinema, another one of Jackson’s passion projects, thus shaking up the production on many projects as the LOTR director had to step back into the world of Middle Earth.
Enter: Rivers, who served as a visual effects supervisor on the Lord of the Rings films, and Mortal Engines serves as his feature-film debut (a pretty sizable budget for a yet-untested talent). You can be sure that there was plenty of support from other vets of both the Rings and Hobbit films to make sure everything was staying on track.
Mortal Engines opens December 14, 2018.