Mortal Engines  (TBA)

Directed by: Peter Jackson

U.S. Opening Date: TBA



The latest rumors have it that Peter Jackson’s next movie is going to be an adaptation of Mortal Engines, the first book in a series of sci-fi novels aimed at children aged 12 and up.

According to Wikipedia the book is set in a post-apocalyptic steampunk world, ravaged in ages past by a nuclear holocaust known as the “Sixty Minute War,” which caused massive geological upheaval.

To escape the earthquakes, volcanoes and other instabilities, a Nomad leader called Nikola Quercus, who changed his name to Nikolas Quirke, designed a system known as Municipal Darwinism, where entire cities essentially become immense vehicles known as Traction Cities, and must consume one another in order to maintain themselves in a world deprived of most natural resources.

The main character of Mortal Engines is Tom Natsworthy, a fifteen-year old orphan who is pushed out of London by the man he most admires and must seek answers in the perilous Out-Country, aided by one girl and the memory of another.

“Reeve's prose is sweeping and cinematic,” one reviewer said of the books. “He deftly weaves in social commentary on the perils of both war and consumerism.”

By the way, the title is a quotation from William Shakespeare’s Othello: “And O you mortal engines whose rude throats / Th'immoral Jove's dread clamors counterfeit...” The four books in the series are Mortal Engines (2001), Predator's Gold, Infernal Devices, and A Darkling Plain (2006) as well as the prequel Fever Crumb. The series is known as the Hungry City Chronicles in the States.

A Jackson spokesman did not confirm or deny that Mortal Engines will be Jackson’s next project and that Weta Workshops are already working on designs for the giant mobile cities. “Any comment should come from Peter,” the spokesman said.

Jackson apparently bought the rights to the novels quite a while back.


In Hollywood you’re only as good as your last movie, which is bad news for Peter Jackson. His adaptation of The Lovely Bones may appear to be the sort of drama that shouldn’t cost too much money to make. After all, it is a drama about a girl who is brutally killed by a serial killer and then watches from heaven how her friends and family cope with their grief over her murder.

Only problem is that Jackson spent a fortune on creating a CGI heaven for the movie and the project is said to have cost in excess of $100 million – usually the sort of budget spent on blockbusters. The Lovely Bones is however meant to be a “prestige” project that will attract awards and critical acclaim. Critics however hate the movie with a passion and it is unlikely to win any Oscars for the Bearded One.

So what does this mean? Probably nothing. Will Hollywood still throw huge amounts of cash at the maker of Lord of the Rings? Or will a voice in the back of their heads go, “Listen, didn’t this guy direct The Lovely Bones and doesn’t this whole story sound suspiciously a lot like The Golden Compass, an expensive flop also based on a children’s fantasy novel?

To be honest we’re more excited about Temeraire, the other project Jackson is rumored to be working on right now, which is about an alternate reality in which the Napoleonic Wars were fought by dragon riders. This is something which Jackson’s WETA outfit probably has down right pat now that they have done the effects for James Cameron’s Avatar . . .


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