Making the Mortal Engines Movie

News, views, quotes and trivia about Philip Reeve's 'Mortal Engines' books and the Peter Jackson movie production.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Richard Armitage nearly had a Mortal Engines acting gig

richard armitage

In an interview with Den of Geek about his role in Ocean's Eight, Richard 'Oakenshield' Armitage noted that he almost had a part in Christian River's Mortal Engines.

He said:

"I was very close to working with Peter and Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh this year on Christian Rivers' latest movie, but I couldn't quite make it work, because of 'Berlin Station'.

And what is Berlin Station

It's the television show Armitage is starring in that features him as a CIA agent.

The three time The Hobbit actor also said:

"But I know that I'll work with them again in the future and I'll be back in New Zealand at some point, so 'The Hobbit' has left such a legacy with me, that it's sort of a little beating heart that I'll always be grateful for."

Which is all nice and polite eh?

We wonder what role he could have been up for? Shrike perhaps? Maybe even a perhaps older Tom Natsworthy? A smaller role?

Friday, November 3, 2017

Why is there no hype for the Mortal Engines movie?


You might recall the day when Peter Jackson announced to the world that his new film project was a film called Mortal Engines based on a book of the same name.

This was kind of a big deal as when Mr Jackson speaks, the world listens.

And when Jackson released some concept art of Hester Shaw staring into the distance at a giant traction city the picture when around the world so fast.

And since then, nothing from the Oscar winner.

Sure, when the film wrapped up the crew let lose with a few insights (carefully permitted by the production, we're sure).

But other than that, the only person flying the flag that has a direct connection to the film, is Philip Reeve, the author of the book and the three prequels and three sequels! To be fair, Stephan Lang has chipped in a bit!

So why has there been no real hype for the movie to date?

Well, for a start the release date is not until December 2018. That's a whole other 14 odd months away. So given that Mortal Engines is a new movie "IP" (Intellectual Property) there's not already a built in fan base waiting another sequel such as they might for a new Avengers film or say The Last Jedi. 

Sure, there's a book fan base that's staunch and true but it just doesn't have the critical mass for the movie to be in the public consciousness such as Star Wars or Star Trek does.

So what Jackson and the producers and film distributors will likely do is sit back until next year (once both  The Last Jedi and Han Solo films have been and gone this December and next year!)  and patiently wait until the timing is right to release the first trailer.

That first trailer will be CRUCIAL because ME is a new IP. Purely by virtue of being a Peter Jackson produced film, that trailer will get a MASSIVE push and Jackson's name will be used a lot.

It will be the hook on which the whole movie will then be based on leading to what will likely be a huge budget film promotion.

But to make the trailer, the special effects need to be done. Keen observers might have noted that the entire movie appears to have been filmed in the sound stages that Jackson has built up in Mirimar, Wellington. I've seen no reports of any other filming around NZ. Sure there may be some second unit filming of some mountain passages across NZ (or recycled / unused captures from Hobbit and LOTR productions?) but given the nature of the film, no trailer is going to released until there's enough CGI effects in place for the trailer to be released.

Where's film franchises led by Marvel and DC often release teaser trailers to built hype, I suspect that given the need for the hook to truly snag movie goers, that a trailer of several minutes length will be released.

I'd be surprised if we heard even a peep from Christian Rivers or Peter Jackson until then. 

Until then, go give the book a second read!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Peter Jackson registered a company called 'Squeaky Wheels' in 2008!

mortal engines whale in the library

What is the production company "Squeaky Wheels"?


A short while ago we speculated that the filming or 'working' title of Mortal Engines was "Squeaky Wheels'. This was due to the email address used as part of the call for auditions.

You know how sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees?

Peter Jackson incorporated a company called 'Squeaky Wheels Limited' with the New Zealand Companies Office in 2008!

This kind of makes sense as we'd heard Jackson brought the rights from Philip Reeve to make his Mortal Engines feature film about a decade ago.

The reason for the delay in production was probably several for several reasons. Jackson and Christian Rivers had been developing a remake of The Dambusters movie (indeed Stephen Fry had a crack at a script). There was also the saga of the Hobbit production which was delayed due to Hollywood politics.

That meant Guillermo del Toro had to drop out of directing the first Hobbit movie. At that time there were two intend movies to be made. Jackson picked up the mantle and eventually directed the three Hobbit movies.

So we can be pretty sure the working title of Mortal Engines is indeed Squeaky Wheels. Pretty obvious when you look in the right place!

Any ways, back to my little discovery.

Squeaky Wheels Limited is a limited liability company which is wholly owned by WINGNUT FILMS PRODUCTIONS LIMITED. This company is of course owned by Peter and Fran Jackson. If you were wondering about the name Micheal Stephens being listed as a director and shareholder, you should know that he is the Jackson's lawyer.

I presume the idea here then is that the company is used to produce the movie and that if any thing goes wrong (earthquake destroys Wellington, debts are not repaid, Jackson is sued for non-performance of a contract etc) the liability is only that of the formed company and does not extended to Wingnut Films Production. It would actually seem that Jackson has this mode of operation as a standard practice as I found companies that go back as far back as The Frighteners!

It would seem this a sensible commercial arrangement and one I'm sure happens a lot in Hollywood - indeed I think for The Force Awakens movie, JJ Abrams created Foodles - which was actually fined by the British Court due to its involvement in Harrison Food's injury - which was a workplace safety issue.

Of further interest, Christian Rivers incorporated RIVS Films Limited a month after the Mortal Engines project was announced.

All this is pretty standard and no big deal. Actually the most interesting thing I discovered the Peter Jackson's middle name is Robert!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

How to get the new audiobook of Mortal Engines free!

Philip Reeve has announced to the world that actor Barnaby Edwards has redone the audio for Mortal Engines and that it's now available for download at Audible, Amazon's narrated book service!

You might know Barnday as a Dalek from Doctor Who?

The best news is that if you are a first time user of Audible you can download the novel for free!

That's right, if you've never read the book or want to listen to it on your commute, Barnaby Edwards has you covered!

If you're very new to the world of Mortal Engines, the first novel by Phillip Reeve is the place to start the tale:

'Emerging from its hiding place in the hills, the great Traction City is chasing a terrified little town across the wastelands.

Soon, London will feed.

In the attack, Tom Natsworthy is flung from the speeding city with a murderous scar-faced girl. They must run for their lives through the wreckage - and face a terrifying new weapon that threatens the future of the world.'

And so begins one of the greatest science fiction tales told.

A perfect book for Young Adults, but like Harry Potter, this book has an appeal to adults of all ages, if you need some encouragement, check out our book review.

When you sign up for Audible you actually get your first two ebooks for free! Have at it, because 'movement is life'!



Sunday, October 29, 2017

IV with Philip Reeve about Mortal Engines

traction city of london

Robert Sheehan Fan Club site, The Sheehab has managed to score an interview with the writer of Mortal Engines, the fantastic Mr Philip Reeve. 


This interview gives two insights - some of the behind the scenes stuff for the movie (though minimal) but it also highlights the warmth and sincerity that is a clear part of Mr Reeve.

I'd love to have a cup of tea with him!

Here's some key parts from the interview which relate to the movie and Reeve's thoughts.

Which are you most looking forward to seeing on the big screen?


I was shown some of the concept art a while back, and there’s all sorts of stuff I can’t wait to see.

Apart from the huge things, like the cities and the Shield wall, I’m looking forward to seeing what the airship Jenny Haniver looks like - it becomes the nearest thing the main characters have to a home once their adventures begin, so I spent a lot of time aboard it in my imagination.

Will Tom’s age be advanced for the film to match Robert’s or will Robert will be made to look younger, closer to Tom’s?


You mustn’t take anything I say about the movie as gospel truth, because I’m not directly involved with it, but I think movie-Tom will be older than book-Tom.

That’s fine by me, because when I first wrote Mortal Engines, Tom was in his early twenties, and I only made him a teenager when I realised I could publish it as a children’s book.

It actually makes very little difference to the character, because London is a rather old-fashioned society where young men have to do as they’re told and respect their elders and betters.

Did you ever imagine a dream cast and are you pleased with the casting choices?


I sometimes toyed with a fantasy cast while I was writing, but that was so long ago that most of the actors I had in mind have grown too old or even died by now!

But I think one of the things that Peter Jackson and his team are really good at is casting - the Lord of the Rings movies are full of actors who I’d never have thought of putting in those roles, but who turn out to be just right - so I’m confident they’ll find the right people.

I’m very pleased with all the actors who’ve been announced so far, and looking forward to learning who else will be involved.

What was your first reaction when you knew that your book would be produced by Peter Jackson?


A massive YAY!

It was unbelievable, really. And then nothing happened for years and years, so I had to assume that it wasn’t going ahead, and I sort of forgot about it and got busy doing other things.

Then about a year ago I heard the movie was finally going into production, and people in New Zealand were going to be busy building all these things I’d dreamed up twenty years ago. It still feels quite unreal. I won’t fully believe it until I can see it at the cinema, and perhaps not even then.

-

We love that because Jackson option the novels so long ago that Reeves kind of just moved on and then one day boom! the movie is in production, indeed now in post.

Image by the talented Rebecca Wright.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Hester Shaw fan art - she's all killer and no filler

hester shaw fan art

Cherry_draws posted this great fan art sketch of Hester Shaw as they were inspired by a reading of Mortal Engines.

Some thing about that right eye is quite disturbing and really captures some of that 'intent' Hester has before she goes off and kills a few people...

Monday, October 23, 2017

We're one year old!

shrike attack gasbag and gondola fan art

It's our one year anniversary as a website!

Or you could say it's our birthday.

One year of wistfully waiting for a movie based on a book that I had never heard of until Peter Jackson announced his protege Christian Rivers would be directing a movie about giant cities that roamed a scorched Earth eating each other.

I was in.

And so naturally I had to read the book.

And I was in x 2

And then I read the rest of the books and now I suspect this website has become more about the books than the movie!

Wait till that trailer though eh? Next year perhaps? Any thing released now till Christmas is probably going to get lost in the hype of The Last Jedi coming out.

We've covered a boat load of ground in a year and made some friends on Twitter and Facebook which has been great. Hey you lurkers, come and say hello!

I also suspect we are the only dedicated Mortal Engines website out there - except for a few wiki and of course, the Ministry of Truth himself, Mr Philip Reeve.

Here's some of our more popular posts over the year.



Fan art by the talented Peter Yea.

Monday, October 16, 2017

What is the MEDUSA weapon in Mortal Engines?

medusa being fired from London


The MEDUSA was the ancient Old-Tech super weapon that the Mayor of London city tried to use to breach the Shield Wall.

Magnus Chrome, the Mayor of London, intended to use the Medusa weapon against the Walk so that he could take London City through to the fertile hunting grounds beyond the wall.

But what exactly is the Medusa and how is it used. Does it make you turn to stone if you look at it too long?

MEDUSA is a 'ground-based' weapon.

It is stated in the Mortal Engines novel as taking up the whole of the inside of St Paul's Cathedral, where the Guild of Engineers had rebuilt it under complete secrecy.

Philip Reeve described as having a huge, metallic hood shaped 'like a cobra's hood'. It fires a beam of energy (either sourced from outside the real universe, or the cities generators), resembling a "cat-o-nine-tails", at targets up to two hundred miles away.

The firing coordinates are input via a control panel at the base of the firing mechanism.

In Mortal Engines, the Medusa was never actually used as intended.

It was accidentally destroyed by Katherine Valentine who was mortally wounded during her noble attempt to sabotage it. She succeeded somewhat - the Medusa was unable to be fired by Magnus Chrome but it did over heat, blow up and destroy the city of London with it.

The resulting explosion killed most of the thousands of people living in the city, many of them innocent.

Medusa weapon concept art from Mortal Engines
The Engineers prepare Medusa for firing

So where did the Medusa weapon come from?


The weapon was originally deployed in America during the infamous Sixty Minute War, the one which turned planet Earth into a post-apocalyptic wasteland from which the traction cities eventually evolved from. This is not to say the Medusa was the only weapon used that caused the destruction. The satellite systems known as ODIN wreaked a fair amount of damage.

Many thousands of years after the great War, London secretly made archeological expeditions to the Dead Continent and gathered the pieces of Medusa from an old Brothal base and re-assembled it inside the St Paul's complex.

In a key plot point which echoed a generation,  Thaddeus Valentine (working for Magnus Chrome)  had years before the events of the book, sort to obtain the computer control system of the Medusa. A fabulously complex item of technology even by the standards of scientists from the pre-war era,

Valentine tracked it to being in the hands of Hester's parents, found them and killed them. During this horrible moment, he also scarred Hester, both physically and of course mentally.

So what is the plot of Mortal Engines in relation to Medusa?


Katherine Valentine spends most of the first part of Mortal Engines trying to figure out what MEDUSA is. Then, when the city of London is being chased by the city Panzerstadt-Bayreuth the roof of St Paul's Cathedral lifts up and destroys the predator city with a blast of pure energy.

The successful use of the weapon serves as proof of concept to Magnus Chrome and it further adds to his resolve to breach the Shield Wall.

Magnus' plans are ultimately foiled when MEDUSA system overloads with energy and explodes, obliterating most of London with it.



Concept art of Medusa being opened above Saint Paul's Cathedral by Jaekyung Jaguar Lee. Medusa firing art design by Peter Yea.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Reeve announces 'Station Zero' as new Railhead novel

The cover and name of the third and final novel in Philip Reeve's Railhead series has been revealed as:

Station Zero


Here's the cover by artist Ian McQue:

station zero railhead cover art

Reeve said while praising McQue's work:

"'When I was reading science fiction novels as a young teenager one of the things which drew me to them was the covers, which tended to feature colossal multi-coloured spaceships and exotic planetscapes by artists like Chris Foss and Peter Jones. 

The modern-day equivalent of those illustration giants is Ian McQue, a concept artist for movies and computer games and also the creator of a wonderful body of personal work featuring shifty-looking characters, wild landscapes and rusty airborne boats (check out his Twitter or Instagram accounts)."

Station Zero will have a May 2018 release date. Order from Amazon.  

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Shrike concept design as imagined in A Darkling Plain

If you're ever read A Darkling Plain, you're appreciate this fan art from thatfigures of the Shrike:

sketch of shrike from A Darkling Plain

This picture represents one of the greatest endings to a novel I've ever had the joy of reading!

I also found this second sketch of the Shrike being discovered by the same artist:

shrike foun din a cave - darkling plain

David Buisan's Mortal Engines spanish cover version artwork

Here's the incredible artwork by David Buisan that he designed for the Spanish language version of Mortal Engines:

spanish cover of mortal engines


Without the title getting in the way, one can truly appreciate that it really does convey what happens in the novel. Too often book covers have a cool picture that doesn't rally related to the words inside.

My only quibble would be I think Philip Reeve said in one of the chats he did on Discord that it was Hester's right eye that was disfigured... 

Buisan has also designed the cover for Predator's Gold and we presume the next two novels as well..

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Hera Hilmar imagined as Hester Shaw

Here's a great photoshop effort of Hera Hilmar as Hester Shaw

hera hilmar imagined as hester shaw

We truly hope that Christain Rivers and Peter Jackson go all in on the disfigurement of Hester as it really is an outward embodiment of her inward psyche.

Found on Reddit!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Fantastic Mortal Engines cosplay costumes

Hester Shaw costume cosplay from Mortal Engines book

Mortal Engines movie and book Cosplay Costumes


Let's face it, while Mortal Engines was a book, there wasn't much cosplay of the amazing characters that come from the book. There didn't seem to be too many Ana Fangs running around the Comic Conventions or monstrous Shrikes lurking in dark corridors.

That said, there was this pretty awesome version of Shrike which comes from a very cool short film.

Shrike Mortal Engines cosplay costume

Cosplay inspired by the Mortal Engines book and movie


But now that Mortal Engines is a movie and the characters have been visually brought to life, cosplayers now have something to focus and get into.

Everyone loves Hester Shaw cosplay! Check out this extreme facial scarring!

hester shaw face scar make up

Hester Shaw with awesome scar across face


scarrred hester shaw cosplay costume

Another fine Hester

hester shaw cosplay costume

Kids seem to love dressing up as Hester!

hester scar cosplay
 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Reeve announces ME Quartet to be released in Spanish


Just in time for the increased interest in Mortal Engines due to the December 2018 release of the movie, Phillip Reeve has let it be known that all 4 books of the Quartet will be released in the Spanish language.

The first and second novels ME and Predators Gold have already been translated and Infernal Devices and A Darkling Plain are to get the treatment as well.

Here's the official word from Phillip Reeve:

El Oro del Depredador spanish cover"I sometimes get asked by Spanish readers about translations of the Mortal Engines books - the first two have been out of print in Spanish for years, and Infernal Devices and A Darkling Plain never made it *into* print. Well, Maquinas Mortales is out this month, and El Oro del Depredador coming soon.

They're published by Alfaguara, who will be doing the third and fourth volumes in due course too. Covers by David Buisan."

It's a good move by Reeve's publisher as there's 500 million of Spanish speakers around the globe who might be interested in reading on of the greatest adventures ever put to paper ! 

Artist David Buisan has designed the new covers (above and below) and will presumably do the other two novels as well.

Book One is available now on Amazon  and El Oro del Depredador is released in November.


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Gideon Crumb: What's in a name?

gideon crumb mortal engines harry potter

For Mortal Engines fans the name 'Gideon Crumb' refers to the good Doctor Gideon Crumb, Crumb being the father of Fever Crumb, the titular character of the first prequel novel to the Mortal Engines quartet written by Philip Reeve.

However, for Harry Potter fans, Gideon Crumb will always be the rock'n'rolling wizard who was front man / bag pipe player for the The Weird Sisters. You can check out their groove in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Update: The next two paragraphs are wrong. Pls check the correction below.

It would appear then Phillip Reeves borrowed the name for his novel as a nod to the Harry Potter series. Reeve fills his novels with many references to popular culture so it makes sense he would do such a thing.

Given The Goblet of Fire was published in 2005 and Fever Crumb in 2009, the timing certainly fits in that Reeve would have had enough time to read Rowling's work and then be inspired to include the name in his drafting of Fever Crumb.

Update: Philip Reeve kindly stepped by on twitter to shoot down this theory! (Not for the first time either!)


To which I perhaps impolitely replied with a DAMMIT!
And then we learned Reeve's real inspiration:

So Gideon was not named for a minor Harry Potter character but rather one of the fathers of paleontology!

Thanks for the insight Philip!

And that's all I have to say other than, 'you're a wizard, Harry!'.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Airhaven art design

airhaven concept design!


Concept design of Airhaven from Mortal Engines book series by Eleth89. We can only wait until we see how this looks in the movie. The Gasbag and Gondola awaits us!

Phillip Reeve didn't believe it was Peter Jackson when he emailed to say Mortal Engines was finally happening!

phillip reeve peter jackson

Here's a great article with Phillip Reeve in Wired Magazine where Reeve reveals when he finally received contact from Peter Jackson confirming the movie was going ahead, he didn't believe it was really NZ's finest film maker!

Here's the tale:

Originally published in 2001, the film rights to Mortal Engines quickly started circulating the desks of Hollywood executives. Jackson eventually brought the option outright, though it would be over a decade after the book’s debut before the movie progressed any further. Then a year and a half ago Reeve received an email from the New Zealand director, announcing that production was underway.

“I was suspicious at first actually!” he says. “Rumours about the project had slipped out a few years ago and from time to time people would pop up on Twitter asking me about whether Peter was adapting my book. Of course all I could say was ‘Oh I don’t suppose so’ and ‘you mustn’t believe everything you read on the internet haha’. So when the email came through it occurred to me that maybe this wasn’t Peter at all but someone fishing for information."

The message was genuine and in May Reeve got the chance to watch some of the shoot in Wellington. The experience seemed unreal at times. "You’d see all these people going about creating these incredibly detailed sets and acting out something I’d made up in my head years ago. There was a scene I saw with a character called Anna Fang [played by South Korea-born singer Jihae]. She had this long red trench coat and jet black hair and was sitting in this rusty aviators bar; because everything else had all these muted earth tones the contrast made her really stand out. It was pretty much exactly how I’d originally pictured it, so when I saw it I thought, 'That’s me! I did that!’"

The aviator bar Reeves refers to is presumably the 'Gasbag and Gondola'. 

There's plenty more in the article including Reeve's thoughts on ME's social commentary, and the revelation he has two alpacas!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Calum Gittens is playing the Chief Navigator of London

calum gittens mortal engines
Kiwi actor Calum Gittens has a role in Mortal Engines as the 'Chief Navigator'. This is as stated on IMDB so is subject to correction. We presume Chief Navigator refer to a job piloting London Traction City.

Gittens is the son of popular New Zealand actor Paul Gittens and a fairly well known scriptwriter called Phillipa Boyens. That name should ring a bell....

Gittens made a name for himself on the Kiwi soap opera Shortland Street and a few parts in LOTR ( He features as the young lad on The Wall in The Two Towers) and The Hobbit.

Another notable screen credit was a turn in The King's Speech.

Doctor Twix is being played by Sarah Peirse

sarah pierse is playing doctor twix

According to IMDB, Kiwi actress, Sarah Peirse is playing Dr Twik in the Mortal Engines film.

Peirse has had a very long association with Peter Jackson productions, going back to Heavenly Creatures in which she played the ill fated mother. She's had a few parts in the Hobbit triology.

She's actually had a pretty decent go of a career as an actress having made a name for herself in Vincent Ward's The Navigator and having played many roles on stage and on NZ and Australian TV shows.

In Mortal Engines Dr Twix is a scientist in the Guild of Engineers that is responsible for the reanimation of stalkers / turning humans into stalkers. She's faithful to the Mayor of London, Magnus Chrome.

We imagine this is the first time Sarah has been cast after a character named for a chocolate bar!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Peter Jackson with the Mortal Engines second unit crew

Here's a nice picture of Mortal Engines film producer Peter Jackson with the 2nd unit film crew:

second unit group photo from Mortal Engines

The group probably features some of these people listed as being with the second unit on IMBD:

Harry Ashby...third assistant director
Sarah Bicknell...second unit: Second Assistant Director
Del Chatterton...DPR/Radio PA
Carolynne Cunningham...first assistant director
Ant Davies...on set / second second assistant director
Bruno Du Bois...key second assistant director
Simon English...third assistant director

'I see London' - Calum Gillie's drawing of London Traction City is simply wonderful

London City drawing by Callum Gillies
Here's a wonderful drawing of London City that I found on reddit by artist Calum Gillies.
Calum's fantastic drawing can actually be purchased as a print from his website. We strongly suggest you check it out as he has produced some pretty awesome Mortal Engines artwork.

You can also follow Calum's work on his Facebook page - there's some pretty cool video footage which shows just how much effort goes into doing this kind of work.

London city sketch by Jake Davies

Simple but awesome sketch of London by Jake Davies, inspired by his reading of Mortal Engines to his daughter.

sketch of London Traction City

It's a nice contrast to this version of London!

London's Lower Tier Concept Art

Here's some more of London City by our new favourite concept designer, Jack Reeves.

He said of his work  "Massively unfinished but after a bunch of versions its starting to irritate me so leaving it here for now. Carrying on with mortal engines with the lower tier of the city!"

london city concept art mortal engines


Thursday, August 24, 2017

What does Stanisław Lem have to do with Mortal Engines?

stanislem law's book mortal engines
When I was searching for information about Philip Reeve's novel Mortal Engines, I kept coming across a book of the same name by Stannislaw Lem.

I generally ignored it until the other night I was thinking about the Steven Soderbergh, film version of Solaris and I realised that the author of the book that the movie was inspired by, was the same as the other Mortal Engines book.

It turns out that Lem's book Mortal Engines is a collection of his works that is also known as Fables for Robots.

The context of the stories is the the fables are from the point of view of a universe populated by robots.

And there in gives rise to the book title and the use of the word's from Shakespeare's Othello from which Reeve was inspired to use for his first novel:

"And O you mortal engines whose rude throats / Th'immortal Jove's dread clamors counterfeit..."

Law's book title uses a double meaning in the context the engines are literally the robots and describing the finite nature of humans of whom the tales are told - much the same how Reeve's also uses the double meaning of the mortality of humans and the giant traction engines cities.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

10 questions about the Mortal Engines film...


Just some random questions about what may happen in the Mortal Engines film...
  1. Will Anna Fang have red teeth?
  2. Will 'The Turd Tanks' chapter be covered in great detail?
  3. Will Katherine Valentine's wolf Dog feature?
  4. How toned down will the look of Hester Shaw's facial scarring be? Will she be blind in one eye?
  5. How bad will Valentine's beard be? 
  6. Will there be a flash back to the 60 Minute War? (We doubt it but would love to see it!)
  7. Will there be a post credits scene? (We reckon some Shrike lives action would be cool). 
  8. How will it set up the sequel? Will it at all? We think they should skip Predator's Gold and go straight to filming Infernal Devices... follow up question - is Sophie Cox signed up for any sequels given, you know what happens in A Darkling Plain?
  9. Will Hester be as brutal and willing to kill as the book portrays?
  10. Did Peter Jackson really steal a whale?
Concept art by Jack Reeves.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Jack Reeves' London City concept art is F.A.B.

mortal engines london city design

Designer Jack Reeves has made two most excellent versions of his vision of what the traction city of London could look like.

London Concept Design

We love how St Paul's looms large over the city. Movement is Life!

Follow Jack Reeve's on Instagram & he's got some wicked designs at his website.


Monday, August 21, 2017

Mortal Engines, a second time around review



I first bought and read the book after learning that Christian Rivers was directing Peter Jackson's production. Jackson was doing a sci-fi film, his first since District 9?

I was VERY curious.

At the news, I found myself deciding to make www.mortalenginesmovie.com  and here we are, having recently re-read the first Mortal Engines novel for the second time.

I thought I would share my experience.

So what of this second read?

Spoilers below. 

I found Philip Reeve's novel to be an even better read through than the first time (which I thought was pretty good!)

There are a few reasons for this.

The first is that I had a better appreciation of the plot and the direction it was headed. Having read the entire series I had a stronger understanding of what the traction era was really about. In the first read through I was along for the ride, turning page after page simply keen to see what going to happen to Tom and Hester (would the Shrike get them) but I did not stop to smell the roses.

A second read through allowed me to digest some of the finer points. I had greater appreciation for what Katherine Valentine was feeling in terms of her father's dastardly deeds, I felt I kind of understood what made Hester tick a little bit better and I saw Tom as less of a plodding school boy but more of the hero that Hester doesn't think he is.

I really enjoyed how some of the plot details were later used to set up or call back to the original book in the last novel, A Darkling Plain (review). Things that Clytie Potts and Chudleigh Pomery did and said worked quite well in the context of what they later get up to. Indeed, all the minor characters, good and bad prove, to be quite fun and serve to quietly drive plot points.

I enjoyed reading the references to the real world that Philip Reeves made. Brief mentions of Mickey Mouse and obscure references to old bands were a lot of fun!

I was also able to greatly enjoy Anna Fang's character and appreciate that her actions to look after Tom and Hester were not only in their own interest and that her killer streak that lurked below the surface and was only really hinted at was really the basis for what Stalker Anna Fang would become in Infernal Devices (review) and beyond.

In regards the movie, I have high hopes for the character of Anna Fang, especially with her sword fight with Thaddeus Valentine!

Finally, having learned that the title of the book was a reference to Shakespeare's Othello, I was able to enjoy the double meaning of the book even more given the various character deaths that happen.

I also found myself confirming a view I'd had for a while that Municipal Darwinism was fine in theory but in the context of the book's parameters, it should have died out thousands of years ago.

Verdict: A classic read that will stand the test of time for a fair while.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

My crazy theory about Peter Jackson stealing a whale

Bear with me, I have a theory.

A crazy theory.

It's so crazy you should just skip this post.

The wife and I took the kids to the Te Papa Museum at Wellington today and noticed that the blue whale that hangs from the ceiling was missing. I was a bit disappointed as it's really cool, even more impressive than the colossal squid they have as an attraction.

And then I moved on.

Later as the kids were having fluffies, this concept art popped into my head:


And I was like to my wife "Peter Jackson has stolen the whale to use in Mortal Engines!" My wife looked at me like I was some kind of loon and handed out some crackers to the kids.

Here are the facts:

Peter Jackson and Christian Rivers are making the Mortal Engines movie in Wellington.

They need a whale skeleton for the museum scene in Mortal Engines.

The whale is gone.

Read between the lines people!

THERE CAN BE NO OTHER PLAUSIBLE REASON FOR THE WHALE'S DISAPPEARANCE!

We note Te Papa refused to comment so this just confirms the conspiracy.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The ME costume department's motto was to "make it beautiful"!

A crew member from Mortal Engines posted a gift they were given from the Costume Department of the ME production. It shows the best yet look at the crew logo designs!

movement is life mortal engines

Note the phrase "movement is life" -  that's a real motto for the film if there was one. The Costume Department's moto appears to have been "Make it beautiful".

IMDB lists Bob Buck and Kate Hawley as being in charge of Costume Design.

Both designers  have done several tours of duty on New Zealand based productions & Peter Jackson related movies, most notably the Hobbit films.

Patrick Malahide confirmed as playing Magnus Chrome in Mortal Engines

patrick malahide magnus chrome mortal engines


Patrick Malahide has finally been confirmed as playing the Magnus Chrome, the Mayor of London Traction CityWell, at least according to IMDB.

We just love the name Magnus Chrome.

It rolls off the tongue so well and reminds us of Ultra Magnus from Transformers and also it somehow echoes the bad guy in Mad Max: Road Warrior, 'The Humungus'.

The character in Mortal Engines is pretty cool too.

Anyways, Malahide is a great choice for the part of Chrome as any Game of Thrones fans will know he can will be able to tap in the dark side of the mind required to portray Chrome.

Malahide is arguably most well known for playing Balon Greyjoy in in Game of Thrones but his recent turn in Bridget Jones's Baby really out him on the map! 

We jest, Patrick has had an extensive film and television career dating to back to 1976 and is very well known as a quality British actor. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Kee Chan's role as Governor of Batmunkh Gompa

Kee chan mortal engines with robbie sheehan

IMDB continues to report that  is playing "Governor Kwan" in Mortal Engines.

Readers of ME will recall that there's no such named character in the novel the movie is based on.

Or is there?

Tom and Hester actually do meet a Governor Ermee Khan, the Governor of Batmunkh Gompa.

Khan not Kwan.

Hidden behind the shield wall, Batmunkh Gompa is an anti-tractionist city and a would-be prize for Magnus Chrome and his city of London.

So if IMDB has the name wrong and even if it has been changed (but why?!) let's presume the Governor from the book, is in the movie.

Who, then is Kee Chan?

kee chan as male dee in star wars
Chan as Dee in ROTS
An Australian actor, he tends to have small roles in Hollywood productions that are filmed in Australia.

A classic example was his small part as a Sentator Malé-Dee in Revenge of the Sith or a wee turn as a chemist in Mission Impossible II. 

We presume that given Tom and Hester meet the Governor Khan in the novel, he will have a thing or two to say about the threat of the Medusa weapon!