Mortal Engines: The Story of Hester and Tom

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Brief Synopsis:
Storywise this fan-edit doesn't differ from the movie. It only tells the story in a more clear and intimate way, and adds a bit more suspense.
To better explain the world in which the story takes place, and to focus more on the main characters and make you feel more intimate with them.
Other Sources:
'Mortal Engines' original soundtrack album by Tom Holkenborg.
Special Thanks:
A big thank you to ArtisDead for the wonderful poster art.

Another big thank you to Paranoid Android for creative input on the opening text and general feedback.
Release Information:
Editing Details:
To better explain the world in which the movie takes place I start the movie with an explanatory text against a backdrop of some illustrations.

To get more intimate with the main characters I toned down the level of paralel editing. So I grouped as much as possible of the chopped and scattered bits of scenes into longer and coherent ones, and deleted scenes that weren't necessary for the story of Hester and Tom or for world building.
Cuts and Additions:
• 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).


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Works well as an alternate (and slightly more novel-accurate) take on the material, although probably unlikely to sway the feelings of those who really disliked the original. I don't fall into that category, having seen and quite enjoyed Mortal Engines when it came out in 2018 (am a fan of the books) and thus also enjoyed seeing the film presented in a different way in this edit.

The recut opening felt to me the most significant change, the explanatory text making the setting clearer for those new to the story and removal of Hester meaning that your attention is less divided during the chase sequence. I am undecided on whether introducing Hester's Shrike flashback earlier is better or not, but with the removal of his original introductory scene (and the prior one where he is mentioned) I think this is warranted so his story is less compressed, I do miss Tom and Hester's consequent moment on the Jenny Haniver's "balcony" but that is a minor complaint. The only thing that annoys me is also in the original, how some of the dialogue is a bit heavy on exposition and can feel a bit like it was intended for younger characters, many of those in the book being adolescents.

Excellent presentation though, almost nothing to give away non-original origins, thanks Scott for the time and effort to put this together!

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