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.
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
The scene where Doon is watching the boat follow its track, the boat automatically launches into the water. Yet when the three get into the boat, the boat does not launch until Doon pulls a lever. See more »
Having just taken 129 eighth-graders who read the book to see the premiere, everyone left the theater disappointed with what director Kil Kenan and screenwriter Caroline Thompson have given us with this translation from the page to the screen. Thompson, an accomplished screenwriter, deserves more of the blame in their (and my) opinion.
Books rarely translate better to film and this one suffers for many reasons. Jeanne DuPrau's book is an amazing trove of metaphors (candles, the library, the seed, the Pipeworks, and the city itself). When works of literature work on multiple levels, the filmmakers should at least offer us more than one. In fact, this book could be a metaphor for metaphors -- there are things below the surface that exist whether we acknowledge them or not; it is our job to find the tools to excavate the "deeper" level of what exists for others only on the surface.
Having sacrificed the novel's intellectual depth, the film version does a great disservice to the dedicated reader: we are given special effects that defy logic and re-focus the story unnaturally and unnecessarily; there are included scenes of hyped-up action they are neither satisfying nor helpful with advancing the plot; we lose some of the intricate details of character development; there's an unnecessary inclusion of giant scary creatures that offer distracting (and bizarre) thrills; and the mystery of what Ember is is destroyed in the first minute of narration.
The design of the film is great, but as in design, the beauty is found in the details. I believe that the greatest details of the book are missing, hidden away like the people of Ember. Let them come into the light!
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