Mortal Engines Visual Effects

The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.

In this edition, the second part of a video essay diving deep into the limitations of the Marvel Cinematic Universe focuses on what elements of the comics can’t effectively be brought to the big screen. Plus, check out a VFX breakdown on the unfortunate box office bomb from last year that was Mortal Engines, and learn some British slang from Luther star Idris Elba. Read More »

holiday box office

Robert Zemeckis and Steve Carell attempted to welcome audiences to Marwen over the holiday weekend, and audiences replied: “Thanks, but no thanks.” As holiday box office results reveal, Welcome To Marwen is on track to be one of the biggest box office bombs of 2018. The dramedy, which features a bunch of creepy CGI dolls, will have some company at the bottom of the box office heap. Mortal Engines, the Peter Jackson-produced YA adaptation about cities on wheels, is set to lose more than $120 million.

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Spider-Man into the Spider-Verse Box Office

This has been the year of Marvel Comics at the box office, and not just because of the success of Marvel Studios and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Beyond the success of Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther and Ant-Man and the Wasp, movies like Deadpool 2 and Venom have raked in a lot of dough as well, and now one more has landed on top of the box office.

Sony’s animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse debuted in theaters this past weekend, and while it didn’t light the box office on fire, that didn’t stop it from setting the record for the largest three-day animated opening weekend of all time for the month of December with $35.4 million. It just barely beat out Illumination Entertainment’s Sing, which previously earned $35.2 million back in 2016. But how did the rest of the box office do? Read More »

Stephen Lang interview

Over the course of a 37 year career, actor Stephen Lang has played his fair share of cowboys, marines, thugs, lawyers, cops, and more. But in Mortal Engines, he’s breaking new ground.

In the new film, which hits theaters this week, Lang plays a “resurrected man” named Shrike, a mummified zombie assassin who’s on a never-ending hunt for protagonist Hester Shaw. I sat down with Lang last week and he told me about the tactics he wanted to avoid while playing this role, the physicality of the character, and shared stories from the sets of films like Don’t Breathe and Tombstone. Read More »

Mortal Engines 5

Mortal Engines director Christian Rivers is a protege of filmmaker Peter Jackson, who co-wrote and co-produced this adaptation with his The Lord of the Rings collaborators. This is a tight-knit group, so it’s no surprise that when they needed a company to tackle the visual challenges of a movie about a city that eats other cities, they turned to New Zealand-based Weta Digital, who have consistently proven to be one of the best in the world.

Last week, I sat down with visual effects supervisor Ken McGaugh and animation supervisor Dennis Yoo to talk about how things have changed since The Lord of the Rings, if they’re affected by Peak TV, how to potentially fix one of the biggest problem in the VFX industry, and more. Read More »

Mortal Engines featurette

I sat down last night at the screening of Mortal Engines, and had just about no idea what to expect. Greeted only by a bland, vague tagline and a pair of glaring blue eyes staring out from the screen, I wondered, “What is this movie all about?” The bland, vague tagline should have been enough of a hint. What unfolded once the lights went down was a film so in search of an identity of its own that it simply scavenged from the remnants of other, far more accomplished genre and/or fantasy stories. There are flashes of a smart, sometimes quite sweetly emotional story here, but Mortal Engines is mostly inert and uninspired. It’s a particularly disappointing mix, considering that the screenwriters are none other than Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Peter Jackson, who once brought the Lord of the Rings trilogy to life.

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mortal engines extended trailer

Mortal Engines — a bombastic film produced by Peter Jackson and coming to a theater near you on December 14 — is not only full of roving cities, fantastic airships and a killer cyborg, but is also based on the eponymous book by Philip Reeve.

“Uh oh!” you might be thinking. “Another film based on a book! Do I have to read the book before I see it?”

You’ll likely get contrary answers depending on who you ask; some, for example, might say you should read the book before seeing the movie, while others might urge you to go into the film with fresh eyes. I’m here to offer you another option: instead of reading Mortal Engines, read something else in the steampunk genre. That way, you’ll get into the mood for the movie without spoiling the story itself. Genius, right? I know! But before we get to my recommendations, let’s talk about what’s considered steampunk.

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Mortal Engines Featurette Shrike

Mortal Engines comes rumbling into theaters next weekend, bringing with it a cast of futuristic, post-apocalyptic characters. One of those characters is Shrike, a kind of mummy-zombie-assassin played (via mo-cap) by Stephen Lang. A new Mortal Engines featurette introduces you to Shrike – a character writer/producer Peter Jackson calls an “unstoppable force.” Watch the featurette below to learn all about this mummy-zombie-assassin.

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Making of A Star Is Born

The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.

In this edition, we’ve got a round of featurettes and discussions looking at Green Book and A Star Is Born, two of this year’s most buzzed about movies on the awards circuit. Plus watch an extensive discussion with Mortal Engines producer Peter Jackson and director Christian Rivers about the making of the sci-fi fantasy adventure. Read More »

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Mortal Engines Featurette

Peter Jackson and producing partner Philipa Boyens accomplished quite the task by bringing J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved fantasy world of Middle-earth to life in the incredible Lord of the Rings trilogy, and to a lesser extent, The Hobbit trilogy. Now the producing team is trying to kickstart another literary saga in the form of Mortal Engines, based on the book series of the same name by author Philip Reeve.

Mortal Engines doesn’t seem to have a lot of buzz right now, which is a shame, because the world in which the story takes place looks cool as hell, and it has flares of the films of the Wachowskis. But a new featurette brings Peter Jackson and Philipa Boyens in to help push the project to Lord of the Rings fans, not to mention bringing in the full support and satisfaction of Philip Reeve. Read More »