Preteen girl looking at a cell phone with her parents

Family movie night? There's an app for that

Download our new mobile app on iOS and Android.

Parents' Guide to

Mortal Engines

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Inept, derivative, violent sci-fi fantasy based on YA novel.

Movie PG-13 2018 128 minutes
Mortal Engines Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 21 parent reviews

age 10+

lots of fantasy violence, but nothing too graphic.

Violence is present, but its almost always overshadowed by a fantasy, fun backdrop. The rare times its not, theres nothing graphic, but it could be quite upsetting, to young children. Overall I'd say a ten year old should be alright with this. In terms of quality, the movie had potential, but ultimatley dissapointed.
age 14+

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (21 ):
Kids say (24 ):

Simpleminded and mechanical, this movie clumsily borrows from every sci-fi/fantasy movie of the last 40 years, smushing everything together with inept filmmaking and a total lack of logic or emotion. Based on a young adult novel by Philip Reeve and -- shockingly -- adapted by Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens, and Fran Walsh, Mortal Engines does have some cool costumes and production design, but that only goes so far. The rest is numbingly familiar. The movie doesn't even seem to take any joy in its copying; rather than paying homage to anything, it's a slavish, soulless piece of work, as if done by a computer cut-and-paste application.

It's not even any fun. It's certainly too childish for teen viewers -- but it's also too brutally violent for younger viewers. The sloppily shot and hastily cut action sequences are piled on top of other scenes that don't stick to any kind of character logic or need; everything that happens serves only the plot. The dialogue is wince-inducing, and characters spend most of the movie either scowling (trying to look cool) or staring slack-jawed at some impressive piece of scenery. By the end, it becomes painfully clear that most of the incessant stealing can be traced to the Star Wars movies; Mortal Engines has the dubious honor of making even the worst entries in that series look accomplished and admirable.

Movie Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate