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

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 47 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 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
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 27
  2. Negative: 1 out of 27
  1. Reviewed by: Cammila Albertson
    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
    The story subtly evokes Rand and scripture, colliding secular and spiritual values, and, as such, appeals to the blue- and red-minded alike.
  4. 63
    It's lumpy, odd and tonally all over the place, but its vision gets to you, and its payoff delivers a tough kid's catharsis.
  5. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    At its best when sticking to a classic sci-fi-fantasy format. But when it tries to be a generic thrill ride, it loses its originality and peculiar charm.
  6. Stalls at the intersection of fantasy and science fiction.
  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: 15 out of 21
  2. Negative: 4 out of 21
  1. JonathanS
    Jun 5, 2009
    City of Ember is a fine thrilling film.
  2. NickK
    Jan 10, 2009
    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
    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
    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. Dec 18, 2011
    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 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. Expand
  6. JayH.
    Jan 17, 2009
    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
    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 21 User Reviews