City of Ember

City of Ember Image
Metascore
58

Mixed or average reviews - based on 27 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 59 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: For generations, the people of the City of Ember have flourished in an amazing world of glittering lights - underground. But Ember's once powerful generator is failing . . . and the great lamps that illuminate the city are starting to flicker. Now, in a race against time, the citizens mustFor generations, the people of the City of Ember have flourished in an amazing world of glittering lights - underground. But Ember's once powerful generator is failing . . . and the great lamps that illuminate the city are starting to flicker. Now, in a race against time, the citizens must search Ember for clues that will unlock the ancient mystery of the city's existence, and escape before the lights go out forever. (FoxWalden) Expand

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 27
  2. Negative: 1 out of 27
  1. A fun and moving family film with a subtly dark feel rarely seen in kids' movies since the '80s, City of Ember succeeds despite its shortcomings, not only because of its fun and inspiring story, but because most of its flaws are things kids won't notice anyway.
  2. 75
    City of Ember has almost anything one could want from a science fiction-based family adventure film: likeable characters, an imaginative setting, and a fast pace.
  3. 70
    The story subtly evokes Rand and scripture, colliding secular and spiritual values, and, as such, appeals to the blue- and red-minded alike.
  4. All the running, the hiding, the escaping (from giant moles, from giant Murray) are decidedly less exciting, and compelling, than City of Ember wants to be.
  5. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    63
    City of Ember lacks the vision and scope of "WALL-E," but it's based on a pretty good kids' book and it makes a pretty good "Twilight Zone" episode, with hope dangling at the end rather than one of Rod Serling's cosmic black jokes.
  6. 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.
  7. 30
    A murky, directionless plot sinks this big-budget fantasy despite Martin Laing's elaborate production design; the dark, industrial-looking sets often recall "Brazil" but without that film's thrilling sense of an imagination run amok.

See all 27 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 25
  2. Negative: 4 out of 25
  1. JonathanS
    Jun 5, 2009
    10
    City of Ember is a fine thrilling film.
  2. NickK
    Jan 10, 2009
    9
    Haven't seen a good family movie like this since the 80's. The only problems I felt it had, is that it all happened a bit fast Haven't seen a good family movie like this since the 80's. The only problems I felt it had, is that it all happened a bit fast creating plot holes. But for what it was, and something we have not seen for a while, it was well done, all you credits are to damn picky. Expand
  3. Zpocz
    Feb 1, 2009
    8
    a visually impressive kids movie that forgoes the patronizing, condescending tone most hollywood movies aimed at children take. instead, it a visually impressive kids movie that forgoes the patronizing, condescending tone most hollywood movies aimed at children take. instead, it delivers an interesting story and it even manages to provide food for thought for kids you might hope grow up to be aware of the fallacies of authority gone unchecked and unquestioned, and dangers of complacency. the story is in the form of a fable, so if you're looking for logical consistency then i'd suggest looking elsewhere (but really, if that's what you care about in a kids movie i'd suggest rethinking your priorities...) the plot is indeed a little bigger than the movie has room for, but it still succeeds, overall, in telling a compelling, entertaining story. unfortunately, this movie was a flop, but i have the feeling it'll be a cult classic in 10 years. Expand
  4. JenniferS
    Nov 16, 2009
    7
    The plot has potential meaning and mostly fulfilled this. But yes, empty spots in this movie, a few, it feels like. A bit too scary for PG... The plot has potential meaning and mostly fulfilled this. But yes, empty spots in this movie, a few, it feels like. A bit too scary for PG... I am 20 and for someone as aiming as I am, that sewer rat, that had the face of some species of sea creature, had me closing my eyes or looking away; it made the movie much more explanatory, by far- but it would give quite a fright to even a good-hearted 8 year old. I gave this a decent, hard rating. Definitely a keeper at some point. Expand
  5. Jan 20, 2015
    6
    I caught this film on HBO and had never heard of it. I did not read the book so I can't comment on the adaptation, but I thought the look ofI caught this film on HBO and had never heard of it. I did not read the book so I can't comment on the adaptation, but I thought the look of the underground world alone was enough to recommend the movie. The acting throughout is good, but the characters did seem underdeveloped. There are a lot of big name stars in the film but they are not used to their potential, most of them getting little screen time. Bill Murray was the best part of the movie (other than the look and sets). If they would have made us care more about the characters this could have been a special film. Expand
  6. JayH.
    Jan 17, 2009
    6
    Imaginative, but I was not enthralled with the special effects, although they aren't bad. Good performances, interesting story, creative Imaginative, but I was not enthralled with the special effects, although they aren't bad. Good performances, interesting story, creative art direction. The score was quite good. Expand
  7. TommyBoy
    Oct 25, 2008
    0
    Walked out after the first 15 minutes. Could tell from the "get-go" this movie was going to be another Hollywood "craper". Got a pass for my Walked out after the first 15 minutes. Could tell from the "get-go" this movie was going to be another Hollywood "craper". Got a pass for my next time movie outing. Note: If you leave a theater and your only into less then 20-30 minutes of the movie..most theaters will give you a refund in the form of a "Pass" to another movie of your choice at that time or another day. Expand

See all 25 User Reviews

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