Monday, December 14, 2009

Movie Monday: City of Ember

I saw a brief "making of" video of City of Ember a year ago while flying home from Germany. I am a sucker for a post apocalyptic flick and stored this movie in my mental queue. Once I remembered it, I became reluctant to put it #1 in my Netflix queue because I saw that it was geared towards a younger. Since I am a sucker, I ended up watching it last week. I watch movies in 34 minute chunks while running on the tread mill. Normally, I look down at my time and count down the minutes, but while I was watching this movie, I lost track of time and ran long. The story is well framed with just enough background information for you to know why they are in the situation they are in. The pace of the movie is quick and suspenseful. As you watch the main characters, Doon and Lina, unravel the mystery to the City of Ember, you want to see how they will accomplish the conclusion you already know they will make. The costume and set design is excellent and serves the story well. Blue screens were used for some scenes, but you realize that much of this city set is of real construction. After I watched it, I deemed it kid friendly as there is no bad language or inappropriate material at all. Aside from the constant suspense, it is a movie for all ages. So, I had my 15 year old daughter watch the movie and she loved it. She immediately said it was her favorite all time movie, meaning it spans the genders. All this praise, yet it did so poorly at the box office.
The movie is based on a series of books and came out in 2008. It centers on two children, Lina and Doon, as they receive their life careers from a random drawing in a bag. They live in a city that exists fully underground. It was constructed to preserve humanity from the apocalypse that was taking place on the surface. Everything the emberites need, from food to water and electricy, was provided and constructed by the builders to sustain the population for 200 years. The goal was that the people would then emerge after everything has had a chance to clear up on the surface. The problem is that the mayor of the city was entrusted with a case that contained the instructions for the emberites departures that would only open after 200 years. Unfortunately, one of the mayors died before transferring the case to his successor and the knowledge of the case was lost.
We then flash forward to the present state of a crumbling ember, clearly beyond the year of occupation the city was designed for. The city is suffering from material shortages and black outs causing our protagonists to feel a sense of pending doom. After Lina discovers the missing case, she works with Doon to uncover the hidden secret and make their escape. This is a good family night movie if you get a chance to check it out.

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