‘Mortal Engines’ Trailer: What happened to Peter Jackson?

Mortal Engines

Thanks to this new trailer for Mortal Engines, it’s becoming clearer and clearer to us that Peter Jackson really is the heir apparent to George Lucas, and it’s almost eerie how closely their career paths have followed one another’s. We’ll clarify that Jackson only co-wrote and produced the film: It’s actually directed by Christian Rivers, a longtime collaborator and acolyte of the Academy Award-winning director. If you’ve ever wanted to watch a giant city move across a fantasy landscape and have it not be directed by Hayao Miyazaki and, as such, have it be significantly blander, well, now’s your chance. At least the first clip had some color to it.

Take a look at this footage, totally devoid of color or character, and join us in a second for more on that comparison:

Boy, that looks bad! Remember Eragon? It looks like that!

Anyways, Lucas/Jackson. Think about it: A young filmmaker finds early success with an esoteric project (Braindead/THX 1138), moves on to populist fare (The Frighteners/American Graffiti) and finally creates a big-budget trilogy linked to their childhood passions that finds a huge audience and makes boatloads of cash. Then, they have no idea what the fuck to do with themselves after the conclusion of their trilogy. Jackson, at least, struck out on two pictures in that period, as opposed to Lucas, who retreated into his producing ventures, until the allure of their prior saga brought them back into the fold.

This proved to be folly, as they made effects-laden imitations of their previously successful work, accompanied by technical gimmickry (digital projection for Lucas, high frame rates for Jackson) that flopped critically even though they made money at the box office. That was followed by a retreat into producing once again, as their babies were sold to “white slavers” (Lucas’ being Disney, Jackson’s being Amazon) to be developed in new, different ways.

By that measure, it seems that Jackson’s Howard the Duck came a bit too late in his career. We guess he’s making up for lost time.

Here’s a synopsis for Mortal Engines, because we’re don’t have any fucking idea about what that trailer is about anyways:

“Thousands of years after civilization was destroyed by a cataclysmic event, humankind has adapted and a new way of living has evolved. Gigantic moving cities now roam the Earth, ruthlessly preying upon smaller traction towns. Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan) — who hails from a Lower Tier of the great traction city of London — finds himself fighting for his own survival after he encounters the dangerous fugitive Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar). Two opposites, whose paths should never have crossed, forge an unlikely alliance that is destined to change the course of the future.”

Mortal Engines hits theaters on December 14, and will hopefully make its money back overseas.