Friday, February 22, 2019

Homeschooling the Teen Years - Books to Movies: Mortal Engines

The boys and I watched Mortal Engines, last night. We enjoyed it as a stand alone movie.  It's predictable, but fun, and beautifully filmed.

It's a book adaption too...

… but of the sort where you recognize the setting, and the characters are all (or mostly) there, but they're better looking, or the wrong age, wearing the wrong clothes, in wrong places, saying the wrong things at the wrong times.  It can be jarring, until you accept it's just a completely different story altogether. Even the tone is different.

When I read the book (the first of four in the Mortal Engines series) it reminded me of City of Ember combined with Mary Shelly's Frankenstein as retold by someone like Douglas Adams.  Odd, but quirky in an interesting enough way to keep me reading (or listening, as the audio books are well narrated by Barnaby Edwards).

The movie was more like City of Ember (the book, not the movie) meets the Terminator while visiting Waterworld with a smidge of Star Wars thrown in for good measure as envisioned by Peter Jackson (so add in a heavy, Lord of the Rings touch to wrap it all up).

The film is lighter and less dystopian than the book series.  The Man of the House actually asked, a few minutes in, if it was supposed to be a comedy.  It leaves out or alters enough of the subplots and character developments to make further adaptations of books in the series unlikely, if not impossible.  Some of what it leaves out helps to make the film more appropriate for a slightly younger audience than the books  - which deal with death and sexuality in a grim, as in the brother's Grim, kind of way.  The film leaves out the sex (which really isn't in the first book, anyway) and keeps the violence to a PG-13, sci-fi variety.

If you're a fan of the Mortal Engine series, I would still suggest watching the movie.  There is an interesting visual dynamic near the end, watching St. Paul's cathedral being turned into a weapon and used against a stronghold of the far east, that might add an interesting, if unintended dimension to the story.

1 comment:

Ticia said...

I've found many of the YA books when adapted into movies lose anything related to the books except names and a few locations.