Story

After quantum weapons destroy most of human civilisation, people are forced to survive on moving cities that travel the desolate earth in search of weaker cities to attack and raid for resources. When the mysterious Hester (Hera Hilmar) boards the megacity of London, she tries to kill Thaddeus Valentine (Hugo Weaving), the poster boy for the city’s rejuvenation project. After her plot is foiled by the well-intentioned but ill-fated Tom (Robert Sheehan), Hester and Tom must work together to uncover Thaddeus’ plans for world domination and stop him before he destroys them all.

This becomes more difficult when a terrifying bionic-human bounty hunter, Shrike (Stephen Lang), escapes his ocean prison to hunt down Hester. With the help of other like-minded fugitives, Hester and Tom race against time to stop Thaddeus before it’s too late.

Themes

Death, including death of parents; revenge; class warfare; natural and man-made disasters; children as victims; war

Violence

Mortal Engines has some violence. For example:

  • Characters are punched and kicked several times (blood is shown).
  • Thaddeus is stabbed in the stomach, but survives (blood is shown).
  • Thaddeus pushes Tom off a ledge at a great height. Tom survives.
  • Characters are shot with guns and killed (blood is shown). These are often quite graphic sequences.
  • Characters are threatened or attacked with knives and bladed weapons. Many are killed in quite graphic ways (blood is shown). For example, a bad character tries to attack another character with a chainsaw-like weapon, but is stabbed in the forehead with a blade and dies.

Sexual references

Mortal Engines has some sexual references. For example, a slave auctioneer says that a woman’s high bid on Hester is ‘enough to make me self-pollinate’. This is said in a suggestive and sleazy way.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

Mortal Engines has some sexual activity. For example, in a flashback, Thaddeus kisses Hester’s mother with an open mouth.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in Mortal Engines: Sunbeam, iPhones, Twinkies.

Coarse language

Mortal Engines has some coarse language.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Mortal Engines is an adaptation of the young adult novel by Philip Reeves. It combines elements of Mad Max, Terminator and Lord of the Rings to create an enjoyable movie for older children and adults. Mortal Engines keeps its plot moving and action flowing, and it features the superb effects that viewers expect from producer Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings).

Unfortunately, Mortal Engines has a fairly predictable post-apocalyptic storyline, which might leave some older viewers disappointed, particularly as the movie feels much longer than its 128-minute running time.

Children over 13 years are likely to enjoy Mortal Engines, but they might find much of the action and violence mildly disturbing. The movie has some graphic violence, as well as frightening and existential themes, so we strongly recommend parental guidance for viewers under 13 years.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include teamwork, love and friendship.

Mortal Engines could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like violence, even when it might seem justified for the greater good.