Is 2018 the year steampunk finally gets its big break on the big screen?
This month Peter Jackson, best known for bringing Middle Earth to Hollywood, presents another epic film with epic aspirations. Written and produced by Jackson, Mortal Engines is an adaptation of Philip Reeve’s YA novel of the same name and depicts a futuristic world of cities that have evolved into giant, cannibalistic moving machines. The movie is rife with anachronisms: The characters collect contemporary technologies (laptops, smartphones, even toasters) but they exist alongside machinery that recalls the Industrial Age — think large gears, furnaces, and, yes, steam. These are the trademark elements of steampunk, a subgenre of science fiction that has never quite found its footing in live-action American cinema.
But perhaps Mortal Engines can break the steampunk curse.
In its narrowest definition, steampunk takes place in an alternative Victorian-era society in which fantastical machinery abounds. But in a broader sense, steampunk preoccupies itself with questions of time: time travel, time periods, and most importantly, technologies that are both of the time and outside of it. In its broadest sense, steampunk isn’t even limited to genre; it’s an aesthetic, a subculture marked by its fashion: bustles and gears, gadgets and top hats.
While the genre can trace its inspiration all the way back to 1927 with the release of the famous German silent film Metropolis, it’s never really had a sustained run of success. Popping up only every few years, steampunk films generally suffer from middling-to-negative critical reviews or disastrous box office numbers.
The most famous steampunk disaster was probably 1999’s Wild Wild West, starring Will Smith, Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh, and Salma Hayek in a gaudy, over-the-top circus of a production with more gadgets and hijinx than you could count. Cowboys on steam trains with ejecto-seats? Unmistakably steampunk — but …read more
Source:: The Week – Entertainment