At long last Mortal Engines has made its way to theaters. We know that numerous traction cities have tried and failed to breach the Shield Wall in the past, but now the wall has taken a lot of damage. In the Mortal Engines book series by Philip Reeve, and in the movie adaption, a 'Stalker', named "Shrike", is one of the main characters: a resurrected bounty hunter who was once part of a military unit known as the Lazarus Brigade, of which all members were named after birds, hence how Shrike got his name. Stalkers and their variations play various parts in each of Philip Reeve's Quartet of Mortal Engines, Predator's Gold, Infernal Devices and A … The driving force of Mortal Engines is Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar), a young woman who's devoted most of her life, when she wasn't eager to run from it, to the fulfillment of a single goal: Vengeance for the death of her mother. Then you’ll know. Even as the people of London are integrated into the League and the rebuilding begins, that still leaves everyone involved in a very vulnerable position. The last time we see the people of London, they're being welcomed into the Anti-Traction League with Katherine Valentine leading them into what would seem to be a new age of peace. Thaddeus Valentine may be dead, and his awful plan may be thwarted, but the world may not hear the full story of what really happened. So what's a civilization to do when the Anti-Traction League gains a major victory but there's still a need to travel and spread the word? He too also shares the characteristics of the bird he's probably named for and likes to impale his victims on a 'Tree of Thorns'. An aspiring aviator who settled for life as a historian, Tom spends much of the film thrust into an adventure he never asked for, and by the end he seems to have everything he ever wanted. If we don’t, you get a disconnect between the CG character and the actual live action performance.”, In other words, Shrike had to seem as real as possible. Described as a menacing half-mechanical, half-organic four armed creature he shares a similarity with the Shrike of Mortal Engines in that he acts both autonomously and as a servant of some unknown force or entity. Played by Stephen 'Pops' Lang (of Avatar, Badlands fame) this man made monster of metal looks terrifying: Played by Stephen Lang (Avatar), Mortal Engines ' Shrike is a cyborg/zombie hybrid known as a Stalker. By Jim Vejvoda. Thousands of years after civilization was destroyed by a cataclysmic event, humankind has adapted and a new way of living has evolved. The slave trade is still alive and well in this version of the world, and we know that Anna was both a victim of it and a fighter against it. Anna, also known as "Windflower," gives her life to save the League, dueling to the death with Valentine to give Hester enough time to shut down Medusa. “He’s so pivotal to who Hester Shaw is,” says Philippa Boyens, who wrote the script with Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh. Are there other Stalkers living as he did, in hidden pockets of the world, trying to make more of themselves? He met and fell in love with Katie Unthank, whose father had worked with Auric Godshawk. Even in the flashbacks with young Hester, they’ve still got the slight green illumination to his irises. We are told in Mortal Engines' prologue, and reminded throughout the film, that the world as we know it was wiped out in just 60 minutes by a war using quantum energy weapons. Originally a dead man by the name of Kit Solent, Shrike was re-animated and brought back to life. A fair use experiment that brings together all scenes with this amazing character in a way that tells his story. Mortal Engines comes rumbling into theaters next weekend, bringing with it a cast of futuristic, post-apocalyptic characters. Philip Reeve has stated that he originally thought of the idea of traction cities when people where complaining about the growth of a city that threatened to engulf smaller towns. Gigantic moving cities now roam the Earth, ruthlessly preying upon smaller traction towns. Valentine and his plans for conquest are both thwarted by the end of Mortal Engines, and they're thwarted pretty thoroughly. Here's our breakdown of the ending of Mortal Engines, and what it means for the future of the world and its characters. Anna Fang (Jihae) There are a few characters in Mortal Engines who feel poised to be instant audience favorites, and Anna Fang is one of them. It’s on Earth, and it needs to have this sense that it’s touching on us now, our future and our past.”, The same principle held true for Shrike, whose design also incorporated the actor playing him (Shrike’s facial features were changed to more closely resemble Lang’s), bits of mummified skin, and an adjustment from something “too big and bulky and powerful” to “the physique of a wiry kind of war veteran.”, The only exception to that realist rule is the way that Shrike’s eyes emanate a blinding green light when he’s in “stalker mode.”, “I always knew that every decision we made about Shrike on screen was working backwards from the moment that he dies,” Rivers says. The Stalkers of Mortal Engines are a kind of ' universal soldier ' combatant that can be programmed for warfare and assassination. It would take considerable time and resources to get the city back in fighting shape and mobile again, and its citizens don't seem very interested in trying. Throughout the film, through Hester and Tom's eyes, we learn a little of the story and the struggles of Anna Fang (Jihae), the Anti-Traction leader and former slave who both saves our heroes multiple times and becomes an important symbol of resistance throughout. Shrike died when he hit the ice fighting the Stalker Bird, or whilst fighting the Stalker Bird. [With motion capture,] you’re getting a performer to act and move a certain way that’s believable because they can move that way, but [Rivers] wants to push this non-belief, so we need to push that with key framing,” Yu explains, referring to the stop motion-like practice of posing and taking snapshots of a puppet for motion reference. Now the British people are being taken in by Asia, where they will be asked to embrace a new way of life as guests, not as conquerors. ), The funny hats, however, wouldn’t always do the trick. The League itself will continue to tell stories of her heroism, but what about the greater implications of her work? The decision pays off, as the storytelling device arguably packs the biggest emotional punch in the movie. A maquette of Shrike’s head, however, still popped up on set to serve as a lighting reference, and actors would come in to help with eye lines and to create a sense of space. [...] With the performances against each other, it’d be really hard to pretend you’re sad when you’re just looking at someone’s chest. As they venture out to have their own adventures, will Hester and Tom do what Anna did and hit the slave markets where it hurts? That is actually a good question. For stunts, the actor “Big Mike” Homick would be present on set; for scenes with other actors, Lang (who, according to Rivers, was cast on the back of his work as the villain in Avatar, and what he proved he could do with just his voice in Don’t Breathe) would step in; and both would be sporting what the Weta team refers to fondly as “funny hats,” or head extension devices with little Shrike eyes attached for the sake of creating an eye line. Now, he's left a damaged world behind, and someone has to tell the true story. Before the first book was written, Philip Reeve wrote the short story Urbivore. The film spends a lot of time showing us that Valentine was a respected, even beloved, figure among people who still supported traction cities. Nearly two decades after Philip Reeve's beloved series of novels began, producer and co-screenwriter Peter Jackson's long journey to get the world of traction cities onscreen is finally a reality. Like Hester, Tom also finds what he most desires at the end of the world. The way you could prove this is that no one living in the Mortal Engines timeline ever sees him alive again. Together they have a story to tell, and they can help the world move on from the mistakes of its past. Mortal Engines (2018) cast and crew credits, including actors, actresses, directors, writers and more. Shrike is a remembering machine, as his brain was taken from the temple by a snowmad and sold to Nicola Quercus. That task may fall to his daughter Katherine (Leila George), who with the Lord Mayor and her father both dead seems to have assumed at least a temporary leadership among Londoners. Of all the colorful characters in Mortal Engines, Shrike (Stephen Lang) may just be the most striking. Some years later, Kit requested Fever Cru… As Philip Reeve was an illustrator when he was writing Mortal Engines, it took over si… ], That humanity made the decision to change and expand Shrike’s storyline, which is not as central in Philip Reeve’s book, an easy one. (“It looked like Bender from Futurama,” Yu says. Is there a leader among them who will think he or she can do a better job with the same idea? Thaddeus Valentine's mission to take over the lands of the Anti-Traction League is a twisted, tyrannical quest, but it stems from a legitimate idea: The system of "Municipal Darwinism" in which cities continue to fight for supremacy simply cannot continue to sustain itself. There’s nothing wrong with a movie that reminds you of other movies, but “Mortal Engines’” third-act stumbles almost ruin an otherwise fantastic big-screen ride. Posted: 7 … Tom always wanted to be an aviator, and he now has the means to travel the world with Hester at his side. Mortal Engines: Exclusive Clip and Visual Effects Breakdown. It’s in the books, and it was one of those challenges, too — how do you make someone who’s terrifying one moment, and then suddenly give him this humanity?”, [Ed. He has a woman he loves by his side, an airship to take care of, and the world at his fingertips, so he invites Hester to travel with him, and she agrees. They had two children, Ruan and Fern, but Katie died of the blue flu soon after Fern's birth. And you can’t tell that side of her story without understanding who [Shrike] is, but also understanding that in this bizarre, crazy kind of way, there was love in her life, even in her upbringing, even though it was bizarre and weird, and in some respects, she was raised by a monster.”, With that in mind, it fell to the design team at Weta Digital to make sure that Shrike, despite being a robot, could properly emote and get that side of Hester’s story across. SPOILERS AHEAD! Speaking to the overall aesthetic of the world, Rivers explains, “It needs to feel like it comes from London. “You actually have a girl who, at some stage, didn’t want to remember anymore. Rivers wanted Shrike to move in a way that no normal human being could (Shrike is meant to weigh over a thousand pounds, which can’t easily be conveyed by a human, let alone being a robotic, undead soldier), which, though Weta looked into motion capture options, had to be done through animation. Short Mortal Engines Quartet Fanfiction – Shrike and Mr Eden. One thing we always try is to get our animation to nail those eyelines. [His death] was the moment where the green was going to be gone, and you’re going to be looking at human eyes.”. The film is a potential franchise launcher, full of characters and ideas that are only partially explored in its runtime, which leaves us with plenty of questions and possibilities to ponder. 2 months ago. It needs to feel like it comes from the physical world that feels real to us. If Hester is a collector and a seeker, then Tom might end up both joining her and working toward his own ends in an effort to — as he did back in London — find and secure dangerous Ancient tech.