Mortal Engines is the latest Peter Jackson epic that is based on the book of the same name and directed by Christian Rivers. The film’s ending has a lot to unpack from it and throughout this article I will be discussing everything that you need to know about the movie and the differences to it’s source material.
There will of course be heavy spoilers here so if you don’t want the movie or book ruined for you then I highly suggest that you leave the site now.
For everyone else, I’m Deffinition and welcome to the website where I ruin it so you don’t have to.
Mortal Engines: Plot Synopsis
The movie follows Hester Shaw as she attempts to assassinate London’s leader, Thaddeus Valentine. Shaw wants revenge for Valentine killing her mother and for the fact that he is attempting to take down The Wall using powerful technology called MEDUSA.
MEDUSA is a quantum energy blaster that has serious firepower and was able to level the majority of the world in an event known as ‘The Sixty Minute War.’ In this battle, America and Asia were left unhabitable after the majority of them used their nuclear arms against each other, destroying themselves in the process.
Valentine wants to use Medusa to destroy the Shield Wall protecting a stationary society and gain their resources.
Mortal Engines: Ending Explained
In the film’s finale however, this plot is foiled and Shaw and her ally Tom Natsworthy, but that doesn’t mean that everything is over. Valentine is in fact revealed to be Shaw’s father and she was conceived after the two ended up in a relationship when working together on aspects of MEDUSA. Valentine deserted his family in a mad dash for power after gaining a position within London. Valentine killed Shaw’s mother when she found the computer brain for MEDUSA and scarred Shaw in the process.
Shaw takes on Valentine atop another airship where she is saved by Tom who sends Valentine’s craft towards the ground, where it’s crushed by London’s treads just before it stops, killing the villain in the process. This drastically improves the world in several ways and showcases a bright future just on the horizon. London was initially a superpower but with it now stripped of it’s power the world can breathe a sigh of relief.
Themes Of The Film
The movie clearly has many metaphors for climate change and environmentalists will love seeing the eco-warriors win in the end. Personally, I believe that Valentine’s short-sighted view can be seen as similar to many of our world leaders who refuse to admit that we are killing the planet and that if we don’t take drastic measures to stop it, then the consequences will be severe.
It’s a strong message that showcases that we must think of the greater good and not our own selfish desires as they can ultimately lead to our own destruction. London dismantles other cities in order to thrive and this to me highlights how evil the war for oil was as well as how greed can ultimately lead us down a dark path. Whilst the book was published in 2001, it’s messages still stand strong today, but Jackson and Co did change up a lot about it in order to adapt it for the screen.
Mortal Engines Movie: Differences To The Book
The most notable change is Shaw’s scar which is described by Tom as too disfiguring to even look at. To me, this may be more audience-friendly but it slightly strips the character of the strength that she possesses as in the book she spends the majority of it, repulsing people.
The twist is actually told at the beginning and isn’t really used as a reveal as it’s just part of the plot. I can see why they switched the order for the screen though but other major differences include that Katherine’s death is caused by Valentine in the book, whereas here she lives.
Mortal Engines the book is followed by it’s sequel, Predator’s Gold. In that Tom and Shaw travel to America and other parts of the world that were deemed uninhabited. When making the film, Peter Jackson, stated that he actually prefers the sequels over Mortal Engines, so this definitely seems like an avenue that could be traveled down, should interest in the film pick up.
However, as of this video, the movie has grossed a mere$22 million of it’s $150 million dollar budget so it seems unlikely. Personally, I’d love to see what else this universe can offer, but I highly doubt we will get much more beyond the books that have already been published.
So, what are your thoughts on Mortal Engines? Did you enjoy it and what would you hope to see in a sequel?
Comment below and let me know!