Mortal Engines — A political, dystopian, anticapitalistic tale at the age of a shaking globalization.

27 years after the end of the Cold War, the West scramble. In 2018, it’s a big time between Climate change, Globalization, USA and China, but more broadly a question arises in Europe: the ultra liberalist model that won the Cold War and led us the last 30 years was it really viable? Nowadays, media are talking on a daily basis about Climate change storms and wildfires, while Trump individualistic Tweets faces Lin Pin protectionist 50 years plans put global peace at stakes and while french’s Yellow Vests showcase poor population in France, screaming for revolution against global banks leadership. Globalization is clearly shaking. The shift of GDP leadership from the USA to China was just the first step of a philosophical domino. Was Communism, right? West is prone to a disillusionment that is only amplified by the incapacity of Europeans Democracy to protect its promise of a middle class, meritocracy, and equality of rights. Globalization is questioned everywhere in the world but the symptoms are blatant in the US and Europe. Could this be the sign of the decline of European civilization? Mortal Engines is an interesting “SteamPunk shaded” painting of the geopolitics of our decade.

Synopsis: The movie set in a distant future, known as the Traction Era, a time thousands of years in the future, in which Earth has been reduced to wasteland during the “Screens Era” by a devastating atomic weapon conflict known as the “Sixty Minute War”. Nations no longer exist except in the lands of the Anti-Traction League; whereas Traction Cities — mobile cities mounted on caterpillar tracks — are fiercely independent city-states that use giant mechanical jaws to dismantle one another for resources. Trade is mostly accomplished by airship, or between mobile cities of roughly equal size (unable to devour each other). Old-Tech (technology from before the Traction Era, some from the 21st century) is the most sought-after commodity.

The bad guys: Us, Europeans represented by “London” Traction City.

London, traction city destroying nature and other weaker cities to be able to move forward.

London is the principal Traction City in the novel, which has returned to a Victorian-era society. London’s society is divided into four major and a number of minor Guilds. The Engineers are responsible for maintaining the machines necessary for the survival of London, many of which are found by the Guild of Historians. The Historians are in charge of collecting and preserving highly prized, often dangerous artifacts. The Navigators are responsible for steering and plotting the course of London. The Merchants are in charge of running London’s economy. London is officially ruled by an elected Mayor. The Lord Mayor is Magnus Crome, who is also the head of the Guild of Engineers. Like most Traction Cities, London is built on a series of tiers. This encourages the system of social classes, with the wealthier nobles at the top of the city and the lower classes further down, closer to the noise and pollution of the city’s massive engines. Atop the whole of London sits St Paul’s Cathedral: the only building known to have survived the Sixty Minute War. London represents how capitalism society let immigrants & Poors cheap labor (absorbed from other cities) to make the city foundations work while enabling casts (guilds) of hyper intellectuals can develop technological innovations, leading to those hyper-technological weapons: “Mortal Engines”. Thus the whole capitalistic society is a “Mortal engine”.

London and other“Predator cities” are the allegory of Adam Smith capitalistic competitive advantage & the globalization.

2 opposites philosophical and political models :

  • The Great Hunting Ground — Consists of Europe and Northern Asia, and is the domain of the Traction Cities. It is a muddy wasteland, in which the constant movement of the cities has destroyed all vegetation. The land is identified by city-dwellers as the “Out-Country”. The capitalists. Fostering competition & Darwinism between cities & humans.
  • Asia — The stronghold of the Anti-Traction League. Eastern China is evidently irradiated by the War, and the Himalayas are now the center of civilization, where the mountains make it impossible for cities to approach. The communists. Fostering equality & sustainability between cities & humans.
Anna Fang, representing American Born Chinese, the travelling Hero, connecting dots to ensure the future of West Civilisation after the decline of West capitalism?

Explaining the suicide of European Civilization.

The novel title is a quotation from Act III, Scene iii of William Shakespeare’s play Othello (“Othello: And O you mortal engines whose rude throats / Th’immortal Jove’s dread clamors counterfeit…” — Line 352). It refers to the fact that the society of Municipal Darwinism is not sustainable living and that the cities’ engines are indeed mortal.

Conclusion :

The Shield Wall of Batmunkh Gompa, representing the alliance between China & India “Anti mobile cities alliance” to protect the remains of civilization from Europeans “Traction Cities” madness.

Mortal Engines is the story of today’s declining European Civilization hurting the planet through pollution, individual unconscious consumption, climate change, and the hope of Asia civilization to protect our children.

I think this movie is not about the future. it is about today. today is a very crucial time for humanity as we, humans, all need to choose between using the power of capitalism and technology to create a sustainable world for us all and our children or to use capitalism and technology for our own individualistic pleasure.

This movie showcases a certain manichéisme between the European ideology of the pursuit of individual happiness, using technology for individualistic survival power and ultimately death. against it is the ideology of the group, using technology to protect sustainably, led by Asia. This movie is a clear message to our generation that we need to follow Asia group centered ideology if we want to survive climate change, capitalism, transhumanism (humans become robots like Shake) and to ourselves.

In the end, both China and India welcome the old dying civilization (London) to their protected, sustainable home. I think if this could happen now instead of in 1000 years this could be better and maybe save capitalism to humanity auto destruction. this movie could be a powerful political tool, a game changer to make China take over the new world order using technology (Wall) for protection & peace.

[spoiler alert]The movie ends — with London, heading to the West, Himalaya, trying to conquer it, will at the end scramble until it’s auto-destruction, leaving it’s people only the hope to be accepted by China and India.

This is the story of the fall of capitalism, giving Europe great scientific power and pushing Europe to the next technological age

This is the story of unequal distribution of technology access enabling some humans with super per and directly or indirectly enslaving other humans

This is the story of using technology to protect our futures generations rather than using it for individual destructive consumption power.

This is the story of India and China giving humanity hope of a survival, by being more concerned about the group than the individual.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave comments if you have watched the movie too.

Author of The Adaptive Economy | Forbes 30U30 | Tatler | Jedi | Co-Founder, GetLinks (Alibaba, SEEK) | Watch my talks here: