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December 12, 2018

The City of Ember (2007) --- “Discover The Secret Where Escape Is The Only Option To Survive.”

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     Directed by Gil Kenan (Monster House and Poltergeist), written by Caroline Thompson (Edward Scissorhands, Addams Family, Welcome to Marwen), and based on the book by Jeanne Duprau, City of Ember (2008) is a futuristic adventure that follows Lina Mayfleet (Saoirse Ronan) and Doon Harrow (Harry Treadaway), two inhabitants of an underground city called Ember. The city was only designed to house humanity underground for two hundred years after the unspecified disaster ravaged the surface had passed. But when the two hundred year mark passes with no intent of going to the surface and the city at its breaking point, it is up to Lina and Doon to find the exit to the surface. Follow the pair as they solve a plethora of puzzles and riddles to solve, uncover Ember’s hidden secrets, and face challenges at every turn as they try to save the townspeople from eternal darkness.

     When the City of Ember hit theaters in 2008 it was a complete flop at the box office with a production budget of $50 million the film only raked in $8 million. So why was this film a total flop? After watching the film you can see that the story was entertaining and the cast was solid, however, the film was under-marketed and as a result, the film slipped by the attention of most audiences. Marketing can make or break a film and since very little attention was given by the marketing team here, an incredible story and a potential franchise died too soon.
     On another note, while I have not read Duprau's book series, I did read that the film does follow the book pretty closely with only a few minor changes. And as the story unfolds at a great pace the sets are revealed to be captivating and beautiful. There is so much attention to detail and production designs that set this film apart from other films. Ember is built into a fantastic and beautiful city underground that provokes the same feelings of wonder, exploration, and adventure that are reminiscent of The Goonies or The Princess Bride. The only issue I had was that the special effects were a bit spotty but other than that great work.
     The cast performances were excellent. Saoirse Ronan (Mary Queen of Scots and Lady Bird) and Harry Treadaway (Penny Dreadful and Mr. Mercedes) gave solid performances with great chemistry as the main leads and the real heart of the story. Bill Murray (Isle of Dogs) was a fitting choice for the antagonist and Mackenzie Crook (Pirates of the Caribbean) is as compelling as his sidekick. While Tim Robbins (Shawshank Redemption), Toby Jones (Hunger Games), and Martin Landau (Without Ward) do a fine job with their roles.

     Overall, City of Ember (2008) was an entertaining book to film adaptation that could have easily been successful if it were not for the film’s poor marketing strategy. The story is entertaining, the set designs are captivatingly rich, and the cast performances were excellent. I recommend this film as a worthy watch.

"The main thing is, pay attention. Pay close attention to everything, everything you see. Notice what no one else notices, and you'll know what no one else knows. What you get is what you get. What you do with what you get, that's more the point."
- Loris Harrow

Final Vote
Worth Seeing:  7 of 10 star
Worth Buying:  7 of 10 stars

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