MPAA Rated – PG
It’s 2:03 Long
A Review by:
– The Dude on the Right
|City of Ember
Movie Stats & Links
|Starring:||Harry Treadaway, Tim Robbins, Bill Murray, Saoirse Ronan|
|Released By:||20th Century Fox Home Entertainment|
|Kiddie Movie:||It’s probably better for them, at least the little bit older ones.|
|Date Movie:||My BFF woke up and hated it. Umm, I’ll state this as iffy.|
|Gratuitous Violence:||A giant rat/anemone eats people.|
|Memorable Scene:||At the end, wouldn’t Ember be further underground?|
|Directed By:||Gil Kenan|
The DVD I had, and from what I’ve read, doesn’t really have anything extra, so unless you love the story, this isn’t a DVD to buy.
I watched “City of Ember” with my BFF, and after it was over, well, we both kind of agreed on the rating of the film. 2 1/2ish stars out of 5. Then my BFF woke up the next morning and all hell broke loose in her final analysis. I suppose we’ll just start with the story.
“City of Ember” is based on a book by Jeanne Duprau, and I’m guessing the book explains things maybe just a little better because the movie left a lot to be answered. In any case, the movie starts explaining that for reasons unknown to us viewers, Earth is in disarray, and to save humanity, the brightest minds got together and built an underground city called Ember. The bright minds of the day figured that 200 years would be enough for the Earth to heal itself, and to signify this time, well, they made a box, with a timer, that in 200 years would open to let the current Mayor of Ember figure out how to get the citizens of Ember back to the surface of Earth. Little did “The Builders” know that government corruption, stupidity, and the lack of learning and science might be a detriment 200 years later.
You see, sometime before the 200 year mark, the box with the instructions on how to get out of Ember disappeared, but the problem is that the city was only designed to last for 200 years, and now that Ember has passed their bicentennial, well, things are going bad. For starters, the generator that provides power for the city is giving out, and no one really knows how to fix it. And to top that off, the food storage areas are nearly depleted, although most of the residents don’t realize that starving will be the name of the day soon. Enter Mayor Cole (Bill Murray). He’s a bloated government blow-hard, only looking out for himself. And also enter Doon (Harry Treadaway), who thinks he can fix the generator. And lastly enter Lina (Saoirse Ronan), who is the link to the old box. Mayor Cole doesn’t give a damn about the citizens, but Doon and Lina are friends, and when Lina comes across the box to save them, both her and Doon piece together the puzzle that The Builders left them, and through perils of a giant rat that has somehow mated with a sea anemone, and the fact that Mayor Cole just wants his food, Doon and Lina realize that the only hope for the people of Ember is to find a way out of Ember, and somehow they have the key.
And, yup, Doon and Lina eventually figure out the key to get out of Ember, and somehow a rock they throw down a hole finds its way to Doon’s dad, and Ember is saved, or at least so we think.
Okay. Look, “City of Ember” is a nice movie, and I really wanted to like it more, but for the most part there were too many topics unanswered, which sadly is probably because you can’t always take a novel and turn it into a movie. The story just kind of drags on and on until we get to the eventual ending, which, even so, is kind of, well, unanswered. I mean, we don’t know why Earth is in utter turmoil, so much so that scientists have exiled a group of people to a “perfect” city; We don’t know why the secret box ended up in the home of the yarn lady; We don’t know why mutant animals are in and around Ember; And thanks to my BFF, we don’t know how water can flow up-hill.
Part of me did like the movie, the adventure the kids eventually took was entertaining, but through it all even with the nice acting of Harry Treadaway, Saoirse Rona, Bill Murray, and Tim Robbins (as Loris Harrow – Doon’s dad), the movie just didn’t grip me like I thought the potential was there.
And, oh yea, the morning after watching the movie, my BFF began her over-analysis, which actually held up in my scientific mind. First off, as Doon and Lina were in their little canoe, escaping the city, flowing way downhill in the river and water, well, the staircase they had to climb was way too short for the depth that the city was supposedly in. Also, there was no explanation for the rat/anemone monster. And also, also, sure, maybe it was fate, but what the hell are the odds that a rock thrown from the Earth’s surface, down a dirt hole, would find itself in the hands of Loris? And, oh yea, yea, what kind of moron can’t figure out the kids are hiding behind the wall? My BFF woke up the next morning and decided her 2 ½ star rating was way too generous, that the movie had too many holes and was utterly preposterous. Now she decided the movie only deserved ½ star , or maybe 1 star, tops.
The worst part, as an engineer, I had to agree with her about the river/water thing, because as much as Ember is underground, a walking path to the Earth’s surface, complete with mutant monsters and peril, would have made a lot more sense than water being able to flow, supposedly, uphill.
I will admit that I have rambled, and “City of Ember” is a movie you can actually watch with your kids, if they are around 8 to 12, but in the end the movie had so much more potential and probably blew its load as a series of films by trying to fit too much in one episode, and after waking up the next morning, and listening to the analysis of my BFF, I have to only give “City of Ember” 1 ½ star out of 5. The potential was there, the acting was mostly there, but the thing that was missing was anything dealing with logic.
That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!