Home ReviewsMovie Review “Mortal Engines” Movie Review – Post-Apocalyptic Steampunk

“Mortal Engines” Movie Review – Post-Apocalyptic Steampunk

by Derrick James

You’re forgiven if you haven’t heard of the movie Mortal Engines. I only knew about it because I hear of all things post-apocalyptic. It’s certainly not the typical movie I’d invest two hours of my time watching, but on an eight-hour flight from Germany (where I toured a Westwall WWII Nazi bunker), I saw an opportunity to spend the time watching a movie I had yet to add to the Complete List of Post-Apocalyptic Movies.

IMD describes the movie as such:

In a post-apocalyptic world where cities ride on wheels and consume each other to survive, two people meet in London and try to stop a conspiracy.


Wiki describes it as such:

Following a cataclysmic conflict known as the Sixty Minute War, the remnants of humanity regroup and form mobile “predator” cities. Under a philosophy known as “Municipal Darwinism”, larger cities hunt and absorb smaller settlements in the “Great Hunting Ground”, which includes Great Britain and Continental Europe. In opposition, settlements of the “Anti-Traction League” have developed an alternative civilization consisting of “static settlements” (traditional, non-mobile cities) in Asia led by Shan Guo (formerly China), protected by the “Shield Wall”. Relics of 21st-century technology such as toasters, computers, and smartphones are valued as “Old-Tech.”


This is not your typical post-apocalyptic movie, not in the sense that you’re going to finish it feeling the sudden urge to double your prepping efforts, or to retreat to your bunker and marvel at your food supplies. No, Mortal Engines, based on the Mortal Engines book series, is more a steampunk meets the post-apocalyptic world.

Movie Review

Mortal Engines has all the hallmarks of your typical action film. There is a love story, a story of revenge, family betrayal, unsuspecting heroes, special effects, etcetera. The movie is formulaic in that regard, but then most movies are. What sets Mortal Engines apart as an action movie, is not any unsuspecting twist in plot, but the different, and interesting, story elements of cities as roaming machines – and the merger of steampunk with the post-apocalyptic world. Steampunk literature has interested me as a unique genre with a devoted fan base, but never enough to spend time exploring it. The merger of steampunk with my favorite genre, post-apocalyptic fiction, was enough to carve Mortal Engines out as different, and being different always wins my favor.

Mortal Engines Rating

While Mortal Engines added unique features to a post-apocalyptic movie storyline, the average (at best) acting, lame one-liners, and predictable writing made for a movie that fails to stand out from the mountain of movies produced every year. Do I recommend you watch the movie? No, not unless you’re in love with both post-apocalyptic themes and steampunk. There are better movies out there by far; but if you find yourself on a plane with eight hours to kill, it might be worth your while.

I give Mortal Engines a mere 2 out of 5 mushroom clouds.

two mushroom clouds

You may also like

Leave a Comment


As an Amazon associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. This site also participates in various other affiliate programs, and we may get a commission through purchases made through our links. Please read our complete Disclosures and Privacy Policy for more information.