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

User Score
6.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 53 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. Reviewed by: Cammila Albertson
    88
    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. Reviewed by: Ed Gonzales
    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: 17 out of 23
  2. Negative: 4 out of 23
  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. Darren
    Oct 16, 2008
    7
    If you go to see a kids movie, then expect to be entertained, drop your expectations for a super fantastic film. Some films exceed childish If you go to see a kids movie, then expect to be entertained, drop your expectations for a super fantastic film. Some films exceed childish expectations and give you more than you paid for, others don't. I expected the film to immerse my childish mind into a world that I saw in the trailers. I thought the film did a great job of creating a world that was totally dependant on the light the generator was made for. It had enough suspense for an eight year old to forget the obvious plot holes and shortcomings. But most children don't look for faults, they look for peril, action and adventure. And for that goal alone, it was achieved. Were there plot holes, of course there were. Why would mankind put enough idiots in the city and hope that two kids were born to solve all the problems? How could a box that was in every mayors portrait be able to be lost and fogotten. Or that one person alone would only know what his one dial would be for and not the rest? For the good of mankind we'll have a bunch of idiots kept safe. I don't think that was the plan, but thats what they seemed to film. Overall, I enjoyed the film. I got lost in the city, and the fresh idea that mankind came up with a solution to the disaster that would come; rather than have the US come up with some plan to save the day and be all heroic. 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. May 19, 2014
    6
    As far as film adaptations go this one gets a pass. The film more or less has everything from the book staying true to the original sourceAs far as film adaptations go this one gets a pass. The film more or less has everything from the book staying true to the original source material. The film has the look and feel of Ember done right. What bogs it down are some cliché story, dialogue, and characters along with some rushed plot elements and underdeveloped characters, which is common when adapting a book to film. If you are a fan of the book check it out but make sure you keep an open mind as there are some changes made and some scenes cut out, which while they don’t ruin the movie they do detract from it slightly. Overall, this film gets a pass. 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 23 User Reviews

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