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Mortal Engines - The Story of Hester and Tom

ScottCrane

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TRAILER



INTENTION

To better explain the world in which the story takes place, and to focus more on the characters and make you feel more intimate with them.


LIST OF CHANGES:
  • Added FanOrg warning still (for 8 seconds)
  • From the 25 second mark: replaced music and voice-over with music excerpts from 'The 13th Floor Elevator' and 'No-one You Know' from the soundtrack album. These excerpts continue up until the end of the upcoming text animation.
  • Removed three titles after MRC logo. Without a voice-over these titles are redundant.
  • Added animated sequence. Background consists of fire combined with a drawing of a city. Added subtle sound effect of fire. White text in Copperplate Gothic font reads: 'The Sixty Minute War destroyed civilization. Earthquakes, volcanos and glaciers forced communities to lift themselves onto wheels to survive.' In the background, the drawing of the city is replaced by a drawing of a motorized city. Text continues: 'For centuries these motorized cities have pursued each other across the ruined earth. The big towns devour the small ones in the hunt for their resources. Municipal Darwinism is born...' In the background, the drawing is replaced by the drawing of a few cities on wheels. The text and fire disappear, and the drawing turns into a still image of a small mine town . The movie begins.
  • Rearranged a few shots to introduce the mine town more eloquently.
  • Removed all shots featuring Hester during the capture of the mining city by London. In the book she isn't mentioned during this event, and rightfully so; she doesn't have any role to play yet - and we don't know anything about her. Two short shots with Hester remain, but she's hardly noticeable.
  • Removed first shots of the mining city (and Hester) moving towards the entrance gate of London. Further shots of the people of the mining city arriving at the gate are moved to the moment just before Tom arrives there (while skipping all shots of Hester). This way we keep the focus on Tom.
  • Removed all shots of Hester during Tom's meeting with Valentine, until Tom spots her. This is the first time we see Hester.
  • Removed all scenes in St. Paul's up to the moment when Katherine and Bevis arrive there. This creates mystery and tension, and gives purpose to the scenes with Katherine and Bevis. It also enables us to focus more on Hester and Tom.
  • Moved the second part of Hester's flashback (about her growing up with Shrike) that appears later on in the movie (when they are on the Jenny) to the end of the first flashback during their captivity before the auction. This way we are drawn more into Hester's story and it adds a level of understanding to the scenes with Shrike that will follow.
  • Removed the scene in which Shrike is set free by Valentine. This scene had to go because storewise it follows from the first scene in St. Paul's. Additionally, it's not important to the story of Hester and Tom.
  • Removed part of the scene on the Jenny when Tom bursts out in anger and disbelief about Hester's relationship with Shrike. After all, that story is already told in the second half of Hester's flashback.
  • Removed the scene where Hester stands on the balcony of the Jenny, as this is were the second part of her flashback originally took place.
  • Removed the line 'They came here this morning.' uttered by Pommeroy when he shows Katherine and Bevis the burglary in the museum. Within the story logic of this edit, the break-in just happened (instead of that morning).

CLIP

 
Last edited:
To avoid an overload of information at the beginning of the movie, I decided to dispence with the bit of 'world-history' given by Shrike during the titles. That information is relayed in the first scenes with Tom and Katherine anyway.

So the opening scene - featuring Hester's backstory - could look like this:

 
To avoid an overload of information at the beginning of the movie, I decided to dispence with the bit of 'world-history' given by Shrike during the titles.
Very interesting how the opening affects the mood going in, a gradual building-up of the level of fantasy rather than a traction city's worth of exposition, one definitely feels more "intimate" with the characters.

That information is relayed in the first scenes with Tom and Katherine anyway.
Been just under 4 years since I saw the film, is all of the (necessary) background information conveyed in the original opening covered in these scenes?
 
Very interesting how the opening affects the mood going in, a gradual building-up of the level of fantasy rather than a traction city's worth of exposition, one definitely feels more "intimate" with the characters.
Glad you feel that way, ‘cause that’s what I’m after :)
Been just under 4 years since I saw the film, is all of the (necessary) background information conveyed in the original opening covered in these scenes?
Yes, and to much greater detail with added visuals.

On a sidenote, the movie skips the most obvious question (which is covered in the books): why are all cities on wheels? One of the many flaws of this movie… Come to think of it, that might be solved with an introductory text… hmmm…
 
On a sidenote, the movie skips the most obvious question (which is covered in the books): why are all cities on wheels? One of the many flaws of this movie… Come to think of it, that might be solved with an introductory text… hmmm…
Not a bad idea, but where would it be placed? It might be a little jarring to talk about traction cities and then spend several minutes on something apparently unrelated, perhaps between the prologue and sighting of London?
 
Depending of course on how long the theoretical text would run, could any illustrations from the books could be utilised as backdrops?
 
You mean from the bookcovers? Sure, that would be a great idea!
 
Not specifically, covers would be a bit limited! Had a look and it seems that there is actually a dedicated book, "The Illustrated World of Mortal Engines", no idea of its contents thus if anything would be appropriate.
 
Actually the cover of the first book would look great as a backdrop I think. Sadly, I don’t own that Illustrated World book either…
 
That’s a nice one, but I meant this one:

Of course I could only use the upper part and I’d have to remove the text, and then darken the whole image to put white scrolltext on top.
 
A good image, but ideally it would detail the early days of the Traction Era, any of other the prequel books potentially suitable?
 
That would indeed be the best, but the four books I have aren’t prequels, so none of them show the earlier days…
 
I remember seeing the trailer for this movie and I got really hyped. Haven't read the books, still planning to. But I was really excited especially with a name like Peter Jackson behind the wheel. Having no knowledge of the story, it was an interesting movie, but quite forgettable. I did read up about the flaws of this movie and the original story seemed rather good.

Anyway, I saw the new intro you made, I think it works, especially considering your reasoning behind it. It focuses the story more on Hester's journey and makes the choices she takes more understandable. Ofcourse in the original movie the same thing was eventually established, but later in the movie, making the first scenes leave too many question marks in the minds of to the audience.
Not that it didn't work, but having it up front just eases the viewer into the movie in a better way.
 
After some very inspiring chats with @ParanoidAndroid I decided to start my fan-edit with a text explaining WHY cities are on wheels. It's such an outrageous idea that you cannot expect audiences to just embrace that, no matter how brilliant the special effects are. Not explaining the why might be one of the biggest mistakes of this movie.

But when you have learned about why cities are on wheels, it's very strange to follow this with an 8 minute flashback scene that hasn't got anything to do with moving cities, as I originally intended. It's also too much information at the start. So I decided to move Hester's flashback to where the first part of the flashback was in the original version (when she and Tom are captured for auction).

The introduction text is now followed by the original opening scene, although I cut out all shots featuring Hester (save for three very short shots, where she's hardly noticeable). Just like in the book, we don't see her until Tom spots her, a few seconds before she stabs Valentine.

This way, the world of Mortal Engines gets introduced first, and only then the characters.

 
Looks good just feels like it runs a little fast for me, would the music allow the intro to be slightly extended?

I would wait longer between the first and second paragraphs, maybe showing just one onscreen at a time, this might also make it easier to digest the background illustrations.

My preference would be to fade them in/out rather than the text typing, but it's your choice of course!
 
That intro is really cool!
I also like that you fade from a cartoonish filter to the original picture, so that it connects to the drawing in the intro.
The only small comment I would have is that you fade to a still image, maybe fade to a moving picture would be better?

My English is not that good, so I hope you understand what I'm trying to say.
 
Thanks for your feedback @theomega ! I understand what you mean, but I like the surprise element of the sudden start of movement. It's like Manckiewicz did it in Cleopatra.

On a technical side, the shot is too short for a dissolve (I already had to slow it down) and I can't put the drawing effects on video.
 
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