6.5/10
59,262
111 user 122 critic

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
4,434 ( 1,133)
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:

Lights out. 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

The live action debut for director Gil Kenan. His actual film debut, Monster House (2006) was motion capture animated. See more »

Goofs

Clary claims to have heard about Lina's messenger job from her former classmate, who now works at the greenhouse. However, Lina was originally assigned to work in the Pipeworks and ran straight home after swapping with Doon, meaning her classmate couldn't have known that she became a messenger instead. See more »

Quotes

Doon Harrow: Sul, what are you doing up here?
Sul: This thing is jammed stuck. I've gotta free it.
Doon Harrow: How do you know that's what you should do?
Sul: [pause] It's my job!
See more »

Connections

References Ghostbusters II (1989) 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

 
Decent movie, lacking some story, lacking some direction.
9 November 2008 | by steviekaneSee 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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