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City of Ember (2008)

1:47 | Trailer

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For generations, the people of the City of Ember have flourished in an amazing world of glittering lights. But Ember's once powerful generator is failing ... and the great lamps that illuminate the city are starting to flicker.



(screenplay), (book)
2,634 ( 205)
6 nominations. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Chief Builder
Barton Snode
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Liam Burke ...
Mr. Boaz
Brid Ni Chionaola ...
Seely Schnap
Maureen Dow ...
Mrs. Sample
Lorraine Hilton ...
Miss Thorn
B.J. Hogg ...
Mayor's Guard


When mankind is about to come to an end, a group of scientists decide to create and populate a city deep underground. The city of Ember is to last for 200 years after which its inhabitants are to retrieve from a strong box instructions to return to the surface. Over time however, the message is lost and life in Ember is rapidly deteriorating. Their power supply is failing and food is being rationed. It's left to two young adults to unearth the secret of Ember and to lead the way out. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Escape Is The Only Option See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild peril and some thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

10 October 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cidade das Sombras  »


Box Office


$55,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,129,473, 12 October 2008, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$7,873,007, 15 January 2009

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


'Ember' is a Hungarian word which means 'man' and 'human' in English. See more »


When riding the boat through the flume, they come upon an obvious drop. Water is pouring over the edge. But, when they land in the lake after the drop, there is no water pouring, over them or behind them. See more »


Loris Harrow: [narrating] Lina and Doon tied their hope to a rock and tossed it down toward the city. The rock could've ended up on a roof. Or kicked into a gutter. But fate ran another course. And the message found its way. Now the path was clear for all. All of us who kept the flame of Ember burning, through the darkness, so that we could live again on the earth, in the air and the light.
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References Ghostbusters II (1989) See more »


Mayor's Fanfare
Written and Performed by Douglas Pipes
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Decent movie, lacking some story, lacking some direction.
9 November 2008 | by See all my reviews

If the only thing City of Ember does is show that Belfast can play host to high concept movies, then it was worthwhile, but no doubt, it was aiming for more than that. Perhaps to stand next to such fare as Harry Potter, or a Pixar flick.

Unfortunately, it falls short, but only just. This is without doubt, an exciting romp about two coming-of-age children who break out of the mold forced on them by the dying Ember, and in doing so, change everything. The acting is solid, the set design and music excellent. The concept, the builders of Ember leaving behind secret instructions to get back to the world, is genuinely engaging.

Unfortunately, they don't get to these instructions fast enough, and a lot of time is spent wandering around the, albeit, beautiful city. Often times there is a lack of a perceived threat. Despite being replete with a nefarious mayor and a mutated mole (like the massive moths, never explained), the story uses neither of these things enough, leaving some scenes to be propelled solely by the heroes following the by-the-numbers instructions left to them. Worst of all, the ending feels like a poor man's Goonies.

In the director's corner, he is guilty of some slow scenes, but what is almost unforgivable is the flat looks of the actors during intense CGI action. Somebody wasn't thinking ahead.

Nonetheless, a charming film that I hope made enough money to spawn treatment of the books sequels.

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