Mortal Engines

Grandly inert steampunk slog

In a post-apocalyptic world, mobile predator cities roll around on giant treads, feeding on smaller municipalities. Bad-guy captain Hugo Weaving: “Prepare to ingest!” I am not making this up. For about a half hour the film’s steampunk esthetic is diverting, but it soon becomes apparent that spectacle is all this is, with scant characterization or narrative depth. Subplots and peripheral characters appear and are then simply ignored. It’s the kind of throwaway epic that producer Peter Jackson dreams up from time to time to keep his legions of CGI artists busy. Plus it’s so noisy it kept waking me up. (128 min)