Well, I finally managed to see Mortal Engines. I enjoyed it, and it made for a nice Christmas Eve outing. However, it differs greatly from the book by Philip Reeve. Many of the key changes revolve around Patrick Malahide’s and Hugo Weaving’s characters. Before I get into all that, I’ll add a spoiler warning. Continue at your own peril!!!
Magnus Crome and Thaddeus Valentine
One of the main differences with the production is that Thaddeus Valentine (Hugo Weaving) actually becomes a mega-villain combination of Book Valentine and Book Crome. He has Book Crome’s devotion to high-tech weaponry and world domination. In the movie, Crome becomes more of an old fashioned figure, content to continue preying on small cities. Ultimately, Crome is almost a different character entirely. That explains why his costuming is more “mayoral” than “engineer” (as it was in the book). Though, I think the film styling looks better than what I imagined, so no complaints there. He looks great in red.
Crome’s faith in Municipal Darwinism becomes a contentious point between the two leaders. Valentine sees it as a dead-end means of survival as smaller cities become increasingly hard to find. So, Valentine works on replicating the deadly MEDUSA weapon that very nearly destroyed Earth in the first place.
When Crome finally learns of these nefarious plans, he is horrified and immediately tries to shut the project down. But, he finds out that Valentine is the one pulling the strings as the engineers and guards ignore his orders. It culminates in Valentine killing the Mayor and taking over the city as it heads into war. Nooooo!
A Bit About the Other Characters
But, don’t worry. There are loads of good guys out to stop Valentine. I won’t go all in-depth on them though. Again, there are some deviations from the book, but nothing I found overly troubling. There was some concern over the filmmakers’ decision to downplay Hester Shaw’s (Hera Hilmar) facial disfigurements, but after seeing the film I think her scar was suitably obvious without being weirdly distracting.
One of the standouts is Jihae who plays the very cool, very tough aviator Anna Fang. Her aircraft the “Jenny Haniver” is also incredibly cool and made for a gorgeous visual. Fang is a bit different in the film than what I pictured, though. I pictured her has having a more 1920s aviatrix style. Of course, while that is lovely for the mind’s eye, it might come across as a bit silly on screen, so I understand why they made her a lot rougher around the edges.
It was also nice seeing one of my favorites Joel Tobeck in action. He plays the Burgermeister who was navigating the small traction city which was run down and ingested in the beginning of the film. It was a very small role, but you could tell he was a very principled and brave person.
Hugo Weaving on His Scenes with Patrick Malahide
Hugo Weaving has said that he and Patrick Malahide had some scenes together that wound up on the cutting room floor. It is a terrible shame because obviously I would have loved to have seen more of them together. He’s correct in pointing out they lost some of the political battle. I think Valentine’s motivations would have been clearer had those scenes been included.
“I had some scenes with Patrick Malahide, the wonderful actor that Patrick is” Weaving tells us. “Those were truncated and made into one scene. We got to do reshoots, so we ended up doing those two separate scenes into one scene. So we lost a bit of the political battle between these two figures and the ideology that they both hold.” Yahoo Finance
Well, RFodchuk and I think maybe he and Mr. Malahide should do another project together then for 2019. What about a movie about cricket? Hugo Weaving and Patrick Malahide have both proven the look great in cricket whites. Add Joel Tobeck and you’d really make my year!