The ever reliable Star Wars template is applied to Philip Reeve’s steampunk adventure series and, with the guiding hand of producer Peter Jackson, receives a heavy dollop of Lord of the Rings’ aesthetic, too.
In this dystopian world, civilised society has been swept away and replaced by the principles of ‘Municipal Darwinism’, whereby densely populated, massive wheeled cities roam the earth, hunting each other for resources. Young historian Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan) is a London patriot, proud of his home and its violent exploits, many of them planned and executed by respected adventurer Thaddeus Valentine (Hugo Weaving). But when Valentine is attacked by outlander Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar), Tom finds himself left behind, marooned in the wasteland with only the taciturn Shaw for company.
Warring factions; good vs evil; a young hero with a destiny; it’s all familiar fantasy fluff, and while this svelte adaptation is severely lacking in originality (and sense), its sheer scale and incredibly satisfying visual effects make it a thrilling ride of overwhelming architecture. If you want to experience our capital on giant rollers, speeding along a desolate wasteland, look no further. (Jack Whiting)