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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Main message seems to be "kill or be killed." Even "good guys" don't hesitate before blowing someone away. The two main characters have destinies that they must fulfill, but these, too, are based on destruction and death.
Positive Role Models
The characters are so flat that they barely register as characters, let alone role models. They spend most of the movie destroying things, running, trying to look cool.
Violence & Scariness
Frequent use of guns, shooting, missiles, explosions. Characters die, sometimes violently. Sharp blades/spikes and stabbing/slicing. Moderate blood from wounds, including bullet wounds. Bloodiness ramps up in final battle. Scary monster-robot creature. Creepy imagery. Lots of chasing/falling/crashing. Punching. Reference to "drinking own urine." Slave market shown; people being sold to cannibals.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Main young adult characters touch hands, gaze into each other's eyes, finally hug. Kiss shown in flashback.
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Language includes "damn," "bastard," "hell," "idiot," "bloody," and possible use of "for Christ's sake" (too noisy to tell for sure).
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Products & Purchases
Characters eat Twinkies. Sculptures of Minions shown.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Mortal Engines is a sci-fi/fantasy movie based on a young adult novel by Philip Reeve and adapted and produced by Peter Jackson (among others). Big fans of the book and/or steampunk enthusiasts may like it, but others are likely to find it mechanical and derivative. It's too childish for most teens and too brutally violent for most children, especially in the climactic battle. There's frequent gun use and shooting, plus explosions, stabbing, and slicing, with blood. Characters die, sometimes quite violently. Viewers can also expect to see a scary robot-skeleton monster and plenty of other intense, creepy images. Language is on the mild side but includes "damn," "hell," "bastard," etc. There's an extremely tame romance between the main female and male characters; they touch hands, gaze into each other's eyes, and finally hug. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
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.
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.