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*** Official CITY OF EMBER Discussion Thread (1 Viewer)

todd s

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I took my 11yr old daughter to see City of Ember. She was a bit hesitant at first. But, obliged me since I wanted to see it. I was really into the idea of a community built to survive an apocalypse. With the exceptions of the scenes with the giant mole. She liked it. I did too. Just had some problems with the whole exit scenario. I liked how things were breaking down and how the survivors adapted their society. It was such a ridiculous way of exiting the underground city. Yes, I know its a kids story and it was supposed to stay hidden. But, the whole flume ride just makes no sense. Another nitpick was the giant hole in the ground where you can see the city. When it rains you would have a lot of water falling below. ;)

Other than that. I really did like the film.

Oh and I hope Murray was wearing something to make his belly larger. :D
 

Don Solosan

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I caught this today and other than a few nitpicks, I liked it.

The design of the city is really nice, and I appreciated that they cast interesting faces over pretty actors.
 

DaveF

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The book is a favorite (yes, I read children's literature
htf_images_smilies_smile.gif
) and was hoping for a good movie adaptation.

When they chose not to show pre-release screeners to critics, I got concerned that it would be horrid. Though I'm a bit worried about the about the giant mole (not part of the book), I'm glad to hear early positive reports.
 

DaveF

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I see a discussion thread has begun. Any reviews yet? My wife and I haven't had time to see Ember yet.
 

Robert Crawford

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This thread is now designated the Official Discussion Thread for "City of Ember". Please, post all comments, links to outside reviews, film and box office discussion items to this thread.

All HTF member film reviews of "City of Ember" should be posted to the Official Review Thread.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.


Crawdaddy
 

zackscott5

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I enjoyed the story (never read the book) but I had a couple of problems with it. The giant mole was not explained how it got big. Was there a nuclear explosion tat drove the people of Ember underground and while that happened, other subterranean animals got the radiation and mutated?

ALso, While I loved the production design I wondered what the movie would be like if a director like Alex Proyas or Terry Gilliam directed this movie. It does has element of being another Dark City or even Brazil with a great story and beautiful, imaginative production design. BUt that is just a nit pick. WHile I was enchanted with the look of the film I just wish that more could be done.

I did like the allusion to politicians not knowing what to do about a certain problem so they create and investigation. I actually laughed out loud when Bill Murray mentioned that. ALmost a commentary on today's political nature when a people look for leadership and the leadership is not there


BUt I do feel that Walden Media is looking to make a theme park sometime soon with their plethora of family friendly films that end with a big "ride sequence".
 

todd s

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Ebert missed some of the things they discussed in the movie.

-He says the store rooms are small. So how can they hold all of these supplies. In the movie they say their are storerooms all over the city and just outside.

-He makes mention that their are no computers. Their were phones and I assume computers but they broke down. Referenced when the girl tells the boy that this was a message from her father on the answering machine.

-He complains about the tatered map. The reason it was ripped up was that the girls little sister ripped and ate it.
 

zackscott5

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A little off topic to this discussion but I do remember Ebert's (and Siskel's) review of Memories of an Invisible Man and they pointed out that in some shot's Chevy Chase was fully invisible and in some shots all that you could see was his clothes that he was wearing at the time without remembering that when the laboratory that created the invisibly exploded there were parts that were invisible and some that were not. When Ever Chevy Chase wore the clothes that we wore when the explosion happened, those would also be invisible.

Off topic but your post reminded me of that review of Ebert's that also forgot a little plot point.

However to his credit about the map, It took me a little while to realize that the paper that Her sister was chewing on was part of the map. it could have been visually explained a little better.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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Those weren't the concerns I was worried about. What made me worried was "Might have involved radiation, since giant mutant bees, moles and beetles are roaming around down there. The moles have evolved into obese creatures with slimy tentacles surrounding their fangs, the better to eat you with, my dear." None of that is true in the original story, and I really disagree with the decision.

No computers actually makes perfect sense, since the Builder's whole plan relied on the isolation and continued ignorance of Ember's population.
 

Don Solosan

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Adam, that was a star-nosed mole. They exist. It didn't have to evolve, it just got bigger.

I haven't read the books, but I believe that one of the sequels explains that a nuclear war happened.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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Ah! Thanks, Don, the way Ebert described it I thought we were talking Davey Jones level tentacles. I still don't like that they got bigger, but I'll still almost certainly check this out when it comes to Red Box.
 

TonyD

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check your redbox on the 20th for City of Ember.
Probably won't be any sequels either. too bad.

Oh and no blu-ray has been announced either.
 

todd s

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That stinks about no blu-ray. My daughter is very excited for the dvd. The movie inspired her to read the books. Which is always a good thing. On a side note. I heard it did really poor at the box office. It wasn't that bad.
 

Brian D H

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I just caught this on a flight from DC to Denver. I know, the absolute WORST way to watch a movie, but it was on and I hadn't seen it, so I couldn't look away.

Anyway, it wasn't bad. My main complaint is more about the premise than the movie - it's just way too predictable. I told my wife the premise and then asked her for the ending, and she got it correct.

1) Subterranean city for over 2 hundred years with failing power system.
2) Kids think there is a way out but authority figures won't listen.
3) Clues indicate possible exit.
3) Town mayor may be corrupt.
Answer: They escape and the world above is just fine. Mayor probably dies.

So, with so obvious an outcome the only fun is watching it unfold, which is why it's only just OK.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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Finally caught this via Red Box. Very dissappointed. Saoirse Ronan made a better Lina than I'd expected, but Doon was too old. The production designers did a good job approximating what I imagined in my head for the city on what was obviously a shoe-string budget. The last few moments, from when their boat hits ground on, are absolutely perfect. The first sunset was absolutely dead on. I even liked the credits design; the thin, sky blue lettes on a black background fit perfectly thematically.

Everything else was awful. Most unforgivably, the movie turns an intentionally very vague prelude into a very explicit spoiler. If you know the secret behind Ember going into it, what's the point? The movie would have been better off without it, since the final sequence makes it clear enough what happened. The costume designers give everyone in the Pipeworks headlamps; uh, don't you think someone over several centuries would have worn one to explore the unknown regions? Not having flashlights, headlamps or candles (until the boats) was a very important part of the Builders' plan. The gigantic animals served only to create Hollywood-style action scenes where they weren't necessary. The generator in the movie also isn't hydroelectric, begging the question: what powers it? I'm actually torn on the locker being the secret passage into the tunnel out. It was definitely more visually interesting while not breaking the careful logic of the book. But there's something about a ladder hidden just out of sight that nobody would ever find unless they knew exactly where to look that fits with the wonderful simplicity of the Builders' other plans. In the book, I liked that the way out was so completely low-tech. Nothing that was added needed to be there, and it came at the expense of character development from the book that should have been there.
 

Don Solosan

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"So, with so obvious an outcome the only fun is watching it unfold, which is why it's only just OK."

To be fair, most movie plots are obvious, if you've watched enough movies. With a premise like "people trapped in a crumbling dystopia," you only have a limited number of payoffs. "Everybody dies" is probably not one of them, considering this is a Hollywood movie based on a kids' book. Hint: the target audience already knows the ending.

I haven't read the book, and I haven't throttled my inner child, so I was able to enjoy this movie for what it is: a lightweight adventure.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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The problem I have it that it took a less conventional kids book and turned it into a very conventional kids movie. Sure most people will be able to guess the ending sooner or later, but with a little tweaking the movie could have had us believing what the book had us believing: that Ember is a completely different world, a fantasy land like Narnia. Targeting a younger audience is no excuse for taking the path of least resistance. Walden Media has produced several wonderful children's movies: Holes, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Bridge to Terabithia off the top of my head. All three made changes from the original source, but they didn't compromise the intent of the original source.
 

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