The latest Kiwi blockbuster has not received the shining reviews that were predicted.

Mortal Engines, produced by Sir Peter Jackson from Lord of the Rings fame has been dubbed as lacking 'spark' and 'direction.'

The fantasy science fiction film has been given only 40% by Rotten Tomatoes, 47% by Metacritic and 3/5 by Empire.

"Mortal Engines is like a ridiculous steampunk mash-up between Fury Road and Final Fantasy VIII," says one film critic on Twitter.

"It's pencil-thin & painfully derivative."

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The Telegraph's Tim Robey reported that "lift-off, personality, and plainly put, direction, aren't there".

"All the pieces of the movie slide mechanically into place and wait – and wait – for some spark of soul to turn up and animate them."

Entertainment Weekly says "despite all of the film's retro-future eye candy, it never quite sweeps you out of your seat and transports you someplace new. It's a squeaky salvage job that could have used a fresh dose of oil to make it hum".

Jackson spoke to NZ Herald in June this year and said it was a change for him being the producer, not the director on this film - he tapped longtime protege Christian Rivers to helm.

"I was intending to direct but then The Hobbit came along," Jackson explains. "I've worked with Christian for 25 years and I just thought it would be great to give him a chance to shoot it."

Mortal Engines was shot in Wellington and stars Hugo Weaving and Hera Hilmar.

It is based on a book by Philip Reeve about a post-apocalyptic steampunk world.