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City of Ember (2008)

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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.

Director:

Gil Kenan

Writers:

Caroline Thompson (screenplay), Jeanne Duprau (book)
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Popularity
4,388 ( 580)
6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Saoirse Ronan ... Lina Mayfleet
David Ryall ... Chief Builder
Harry Treadaway ... Doon Harrow
Mary Kay Place ... Mrs. Murdo
Tim Robbins ... Loris Harrow
Bill Murray ... Mayor Cole
Mackenzie Crook ... Looper
Toby Jones ... Barton Snode
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Liam Burke Liam Burke ... Mr. Boaz
Brid Ni Chionaola Brid Ni Chionaola ... Seely Schnap
Maureen Dow Maureen Dow ... Mrs. Sample
Lucinda Dryzek ... Lizzie Bisco
Lorraine Hilton Lorraine Hilton ... Miss Thorn
B.J. Hogg B.J. Hogg ... Mayor's Guard
Marianne Jean-Baptiste ... Clary
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Discover The Secret See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 October 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

City of Ember See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$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:

$17,929,684
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Playtone, Walden Media See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

(at around 1 hr 19 mins) Bill Murray trips after the lights start sparking. He lands on a painting of himself and it is smudged. The same thing happens in Ghostbusters II (1989). See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[Mayor Cole addresses perhaps a couple of dozen citizens and gives what is meant to be a rousing speech, like a true politician: promising much but with little action to accomplish anything]
Mayor Cole: These are trying and troubled times. Our problems are grave. We need answers, but beyond answers, more important than answers, we need solutions. And in order to find those solutions, I propose we launch a thorough investigation.
[Many members of the small crowd nod and say "Yes."]
Mayor Cole: I hereby declare the ...
[...]
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Connections

Featured in At the Movies: Episode #5.41 (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Ember Is Forever
Written by Becky Stark
Performed by Becky Stark and the Citizens of Ember
Becky Stark appears courtesy of Matador Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
City of Ember
10 October 2008 | by ActOneSee all my reviews

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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