Metascore
58

Mixed or average reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 27
  2. Negative: 1 out of 27
Watch On
  1. Though the film ultimately falls short of its considerable promise, there's more than enough here to keep thoughtful moviegoers - of any age - intrigued.
  2. Reviewed by: Dan Jolin
    60
    With Ember's hydro-electro-punk charms, Kenan's convinced us he's one of Hollywood's most exciting (and excited!) visualists. But on the evidence of this, his storytelling skills still need honing.
  3. 50
    Ultimately, it's undone by the overfamiliar nature of Doon and Lina's quest, the outcome of which, while breathlessly paced, is never really in question.
  4. Stalls at the intersection of fantasy and science fiction.
  5. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    50
    A fabulously designed underground metropolis proves more involving than the teenagers running through its streets in City of Ember, a good-looking but no more than serviceable adaptation of Jeanne Duprau's 2003 novel.
  6. 50
    The movie is an exceedingly slight tale whose entire second half consists primarily of special effects and wonderful set designs.
  7. 50
    You long for things to go bump in the night, but the movie muffles every risk in a blanket of bland.
  8. Reviewed by: Robert Abele
    50
    None of this means that the film is necessarily enjoyable to watch, however, which is often the problem when the rigors of inspired storytelling can't live up to an imaginatively designed filmic world.
  9. At only 95 minutes, the movie feels as though it had been shredded in the editing room. In Hollywood-speak, it has a weak second act.
User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 54 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 23
  2. Negative: 4 out of 23
  1. Dec 18, 2011
    6
    Although it isn't much of an adventurous film but it is entertaining even though the part we want to go see is the adventurous part and it isAlthough it isn't much of an adventurous film but it is entertaining even though the part we want to go see is the adventurous part and it is just a mystery. It does have an extremely talented cast and some cool visual effects enough to compensate. I give this film a 61% of a good movie. Full Review »
  2. JonathanS
    Jun 5, 2009
    10
    City of Ember is a fine thrilling film.
  3. HyperS
    Jan 15, 2009
    5
    If I had to compare this movie to one thing I'd say its like a Disney World log-flume ride gone amok. Lots of absurd and pointless If I had to compare this movie to one thing I'd say its like a Disney World log-flume ride gone amok. Lots of absurd and pointless over-the-top mechanisms round out an end-of-the-world story filled with so many obvious plot holes that it leaves the viewer with a "Huh?" as the movie reaches its conclusion. So where did the 5 rating come from? The adventure/mystery style of this movie reminds me of old puzzle/adventure video games [Myst,etc] that I liked as a kid and since its a kid's movie I can overlook the implausibility of the plot line enough to give it a 5. A young kid probably wouldn't mind all the plot holes so for them maybe this movie is a 7 or 8. Final word though to the builders: Elevator! Full Review »