City of Ember (2008)

DailyView: Day 269, Movie 375

City of Ember is one of the many young adult novels that was adapted into a movie, but never became a big hit despite a strong cast and interesting setting.

The human race built a city below ground when the world was ending and they set up a way to leave in 200 years when they hoped that the earth would be in a better situation. The secret was passed along to the mayors over the years until one of the mayors died unexpectedly.

Decades later, Lina Mayfleet (Saoirse Ronan) was discovering what her job was destined to be (although she apparently could easily switch it with another so it wasn’t that much of a destiny). She ended up being a messenger. Her friend Doon Harrow (Harry Treadaway) wound up working in the pipes.

Lina discovered the box with the escape instructions and she started to try and figure out what had happened and her father tied into the history of the box.

I was shocked to see Bill Murray show up as the Mayor, and he is always great, but the character did not feel like a character that fit for Bill Murray. Toby Jones was there too as the Mayor’s henchman, which felt more concise of a role than the Mayor.

Tim Robbins was Loris Harrow, Doon’s father, but he was not given much to do in the story. He felt shoehorned into the plot and he was terribly underused.

The plot of the movie was dumb. The whole idea of the builders setting up this way to escape from the underground city centuries ago and expected it to still be fine and work. The worst part was how they got a message to the underground city afterwards. It was so ridiculous and improbable that it tainted the remainder of story.

Saoirse Ronan showed that she would be a top line actor with this early work. She was very solid for what she had to work with in City of Ember. She was certainly the highlight.

This was watchable. It would fall right into the category of other YA films with Divergent, The Host, Maze Runner, The Giver, Jumper etc. Nothing special, but nothing horrendous either.

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