You’ve got to hand it to Mortal Engines: Regardless of whether the plot of this film ends up being a mishmash of YA fiction archetypes, it at least has one of the cooler settings we’ve seen in a big budget adventure movie in recent memory. The city of London, tearing around on giant treads, gobbling up smaller cities like a whale? You don’t see that in a trailer every day.
Below you’ll find the first full-length trailer for December’s Mortal Engines, the apocalyptic, vaguely YA-seeming film from writer-producer Peter Jackson and director Christian Rivers, a longtime Jackson collaborator. It’s a beautifully imaginative-looking film, featuring a setting where roving, titanic cities on wheels duke it out in the wastelands after a “60-minute war” wipes out the majority of humanity. The largest and toughest of these cities is London, commandeered by Jackson regular Hugo Weaving, who of course appeared as Elrond in Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit adaptations. Here, though, it looks like he’s drawing a bit more on his time as Agent Smith in The Matrix, if you ask us. That, or his Inspector character from the remake of The Wolfman.
Be warned: The trailer below is on the longwinded side, and it reveals what certainly feels like quite a lot of plot information. So keep on watching, if you want to see some admittedly awesome-looking CGI work and art direction, but be aware—it feels a bit like watching a condensed version of the entire film.
Joining Jackson and Rivers for this go-round are an international cast of performers who may not be very well known to American audiences. As the masked protagonist Hester we have Icelandic actress Hera Hilmar, while male lead Tom is played by Robert Sheehan, who confusingly also appeared in 2013’s The Mortal Instruments.
Mortal Engines hits theaters everywhere on Dec. 14, 2018. One wonders if perhaps a success here would motivate Jackson to step back into the director’s chair, where he hasn’t appeared since The Hobbit trilogy concluded in 2014.