First of all I need to say that I’ve read the books and they are fantastic. Then I read what people had to say about them and it made me sad. It seems, that many critics just didn’t get what Philip Reeve was saying with making Hester what she is and by “didn’t get” I mean that they missed the mark completely.
In my opinion Hester Shaw is one of the best sci-fi/fantasy female heroines. She’s not your typical well adjusted human being, she’s not really kind and not too smart, but it all doesn’t really matter. Her story is a grim one and she’d be certainly dead few pages into the first book, if it wasn’t for Tom. Now, you have to understand that Tom and Hester only work together as characters, they complete each other while having both their own flaws. Plus, the story never pushes them into doing something epic, yet it just so happens that they do it and it’s the beauty of Philip Reeve’s writing. There are no absolute good or evil in his books, everyone is down to earth, most characters are believable and realistic in terms of the world they live in.
It saddens me, that most people didn’t get Hester’s final decision. As I wrote in a comment on another blog: What was Hester before they met [with Tom]? A broken mess set on vengeance, ugly beyond repair girl that no one would love. Tom was the only person that was always kind to her no matter what, he conquered her heart doing things that no one would do for someone like her and even though we, as readers, know he had doubts, he eventually chose her over everyone else and did it again and again in the series. And Tom too was her only true love and all they’ve been through only strengthened it. After the first book I knew she’ll go anywhere and do anything for him, that’s just the person she is. Extreme loyalty to the one good and kind person in her life, it’s like dog’s loyalty, if you wish, like Hachiko, in a sense. Naturally, she didn’t want to live in a world without him.
Every great story is about love, this is one of them.
Now, let’s talk about the movie… Even though I doubt people would like to hear yet another opinion on the movie “Mortal Engines”, but here goes anyway: what were they thinking?!
The visual effect crew deserves an Oscar, but man, those writers that made everything else, I wouldn’t let them anywhere near another movie in their life. Actors did what they could, did it great, Hera Hilmar is very talented, so is Robert Sheehan and I hope to see more of them on the big screen. However, the script of this movie was just painful to watch, not only because they didn’t even try to bring the book to the screen. They made a vague story that kinda resembles some parts of the book, as if a guy with no talent for storytelling who read the original book a long time ago had to retell it, but forgot what was going on and filled in the gaps in memory with every Hollywood movie cliche that he could think off, brutally cutting off important story parts in the process and replacing them with his own lame ideas. So the movie “kinda resembles” the book, which is a real shame.
I don’t know why Philip Reeve said it was okay. Maybe he was just happy for his book to be made into a Hollywood movie (and honestly, who wouldn’t).
What is really sad, is that it was made by the same people that made Lord of the Rings series, which follows books almost literally page by page. They should’ve done the same here, but somehow thought it would be a great idea to just let loose their “creativity” where it was least needed.
Some scenes in the movie seem redundant and being there for no real reason, unless you’ve read the book. For example, when Tom runs away after hearing that the flying fleet will attack London. Then 30 seconds later it’s like “Tom where are you? Ah there you are, let’s go, I have a flash drive to stop Medusa” – like what? In the book he went to the city too, but it wasn’t the end of it, he saw a monk there, recognised it was Valentine in disguise and it lead to a whole series of events. But the movie adaptation authors decided that just showing Tom rushing away was enough, then they got back to their version of the story.
The movie makes Tom and Hester look like they’re special and important, while in the book they’re really not. It tells a completely false story, has a different ending, cliche villain dies without having his regrets, Katherine lives, nobody learns anything. Movie reeks with every possible Hollywood cliche that we see in almost any movie targeting young adults these days. It just makes me wanna yell like Greta Thunberg – “how dare you?!”