When I heard the name and concept of the movie (it's about big cities on wheels) I thought wtf, what a stupid idea and wasted talent and money on CGI. However I found the movie to be pretty entertaining. The good parts:
- as everyone else mentioned in their reviews: the visuals/CGI. Beautiful scenery and sets, vibrant colors, spectaculars battles, very good cinematography
- very dynamic. There is almost non stop action and anticipation. No bathroom time.
- strong performance of Hugo Weaving
- strong performance of Stephen Lang and CGI team for Shrike character
Now, if you think of the movie as a modern fairy tale for children and teenagers than it is more than ok. If you expect more... Well, here are the bad things:
- the concept itself lacks any logic. After a world war destroys the advanced stage of evolution the humanity have reached, the remaining humans build huge mobile islands on land that move on tracks or wheels or legs to scavenge... something. While others build a great city defended by a wall.
- as others have mentioned, the movie tries to fit a lot of things from the books in two hours and it fails. The characters have no depth, no complexity and there is no real emotional attachment to them
- too much resemblance to Mad Max
- there are no big names involved except for Hugo Weaving and of course Peter Jackson as a writer
- the plot is predictable, with holes and its main purpose is to justify the action and special effects. Annoying cliches both in characters, lines and story (the wise old Asian, the warrior girl, etc). Oh and yeah, SPOILER ALERT there is a genuine "I am your father" moment...
However the movie manages to entertain. It is a pity it was a box office flop. Probably because of the concept itself which is hard to sell, the lack of efficient marketing, the bad critic reviews and mostly the lack of big names that would draw interest. Not to mention the competition with other movies launched in the same period such as Aquaman.
Conclusion: you will not regret seeing the movie if you want to see a visually stunning modern fairy tale. But don't expect Lord of The Rings.