As one of the biggest box office bombs in the history of cinema, which is such an unmitigated disaster and colossal failure that nobody even talks about the voluminous amount of cash it flushed down the toilet, you’d be hard-pressed to find any positives in Mortal Engines.
On paper, a steampunk-infused YA fantasy adaptation with franchise potential that had Peter Jackson’s name slapped all over the marketing definitely possessed potential to find an audience, but it didn’t help that first-time feature director Christian Rivers was found to be woefully out of his depth on almost every level, and that’s even with a screenplay penned by The Lord of the Rings dream team of Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Phillipa Boyens.
It’s only been four years since Mortal Engines went down a blaze of ignominy, but it feels like a lifetime ago. And yet, optimistic film fans on Reddit have been trying to salvage whatever positives they can, even if a consensus is nowhere near close.
At an estimated cost of $150 million, plus the additional marketing and distribution costs, an $83 million return at the box office saw Mortal Engines secure its place in the halls of cinematic infamy, with bundles of salt being rubbed into its open wounds by a critical drubbing and largely apathetic audience reception.
It was a solid concept that blended post-apocalyptic adventure with marauding mechanized cities, but it wouldn’t be too harsh to suggest the execution could hardly have gone much worse, but at least Redditors are trying their best to shine a light on the very little good to come from Mortal Engines.