Mortal Engines seemed like it could’ve been the next big book to film adaptation. Turns out not even Peter Jackson could keep it from becoming a massive critical and financial failure. When I first saw the trailer, I was intrigued by the idea. My only hesitation was how overdone post-apocalyptic movies like this are. Still, the massively detailed special effects and small possibility of a hit were enough to get me to go see it. What I got was a complete mess that squanders its visual appeal. Mortal Engines is based on the first book in a series of five books. Peter Jackson’s first mistake was handing the directing reigns to a visual effects supervisor. Mortal Engines centers on a post-apocalyptic future where mankind has turned enormous civilizations like London into mobile predator cities. They’re highly impractical, but there’s no denying how eye-catching they are. The biggest problem is definitely its characters. None of whom are played by recognizable actors (except Hugo Weaving). Hester Shaw is the scarred hero seeking revenge, Valentine is the villain with an obvious twist, and Tom is the reluctant tag-a-long who becomes the obvious love interest. The rest of the world is bland, unimmersive, and I was immediately turned off by an early joke about certain yellow icons. The only thing I was sort of interested in was Hester’s relationship with an undead cyborg named Shrike. It sounds ridiculous, but I think they really had something there. Other than that, Mortal Engines never stood a chance.