6.5/10
59,692
112 user 122 critic

City of Ember (2008)

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1:47 | Trailer

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ON DISC
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)
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

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Goofs

(at around 20 mins) As Doon is walking to look at the Generator room, a girl in full orange work gear and yellow boots walks across the control room and towards a hall. The shot changes to the door. Then when it goes back to Doon, the same girl (orange gear, yellow boots) gets up from the left and starts walking across the room again, before the shot changes back to the door. See more »

Quotes

[repeated line]
Sul: It's not my job!
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Connections

References Ghostbusters II (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Song for the City
Written by Becky Stark
Performed by Becky Stark and the Believers
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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