YA novels sure do love their futuristic dystopia settings. And while many have been turned into a film adaptation, few have ever made it to the very end. But there are some of those that could actually work, and Universal is putting its money on Mortal Engines being the next mega-hit, based on a YA novel, to work. Produced by Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies), the film is based on the 2001 novels written by Philip Reeve.
And now we have our first look at it, in a new teaser trailer which has a few nods to some more mature dystopian films. Check it out here below.
Now, if you’ve seen the trailer, you might get a sense that this film is pulling some inspiration from Mad Max and Snowpiercer, with the insane cities and/or villages built on top of automobiles. It also feels a lot like a class system is in the works, with the smaller ones being of a lower class, while cities like London are able to live like kings on their luxurious moveable cities. So to see the smaller village cars try to outrun London itself really speaks to what we should be expecting from the film. Also, the use of a slow-down song enhances the creep factor.
But this is a teaser after all, and seeing it only on a computer screen does not really live up to what this film could actually look like in a theater. There’s also the fact that you can’t really see anyone in this trailer because they are all wearing masks to protect themselves from breathing in all the dust kicked up by their vehicles. I’m sure that will change as we get more trailers.
The film is directed by Christian Rivers, who uses a script written by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Peter Jackson, based on the novels written by Reeve. It stars Hugo Weaving, Hera Hilmar, Robert Sheehan, Jihae, Ronan Raftery, Leila George, Patrick Malahide, and Stephen Lang.
Here’s the official plot synopsis:
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.
Mortal Engines is the startling, new epic adventure directed by Oscar®-winning visual-effects artist Christian Rivers (King Kong). Joining Rivers are The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogies three-time Academy Award®-winning filmmakers Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, who have penned the screenplay. The Universal and MRC adaptation is from the award-winning book series by Philip Reeve, published in 2001 by Scholastic.
On board as producers are Zane Weiner (The Hobbit trilogy), Amanda Walker (The Hobbit trilogy) and Deborah Forte (Goosebumps), as well as Walsh and Jackson. Ken Kamins (The Hobbit trilogy) joins Boyens as executive producer. Universal will distribute the film worldwide.
Mortal Engines opens in theaters on December 14, 2018.