Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Wow.. talk about a visually stimulating movie.

City of Ember is one of those movies that you most likely heard about but unless you own the novel it may not have been a movie you saw in the theater which is one of my largest regrets in movies of last year. I have no clue how I never saw this one in theater as it's exactly the sort of movie I live for, smart visually stunning fantasy children's movies with an unusual plot that has not been done a zillion times before.

City of Ember has officially been added to my list of favorite movies of all time. I usually make it a strict point to not read any ratings before I watch a movie I'm reviewing but I couldn't help myself and I checked out the Amazon comments before I got a chance to putting this one in the dvd player and I am totally shocked. First off I think children are getting a bit spoiled these days with the crazy CGI graphics and amazingly large budgets that have been allotted to some of the high profile children's movies. Not that I'm knocking the whole massive Lord of the Rings type productions as sure they are impressive but telling a good story does not need more money than I can even fathom as some of my favorite productions of all time were Jim Henson productions and he certainly did not use any CGI. City of Ember has CGI sure.. but it leaves you feeling more like your actually living in the land of Ember as everything looks run down, gritty, and there is something so much more believable about that. Then again I've not read the book and some of the disappointment in the movie may be centered on fans of the book and I'm sorry its just so rare that a movie lives up to a book that I'm not sure you should even compare the two. That's just a theory of mine as I have not yet read the book but I mean to do so asap.

So let me tell you what I do know about the movie. City of Ember is unusually refreshing the storyline is nothing I've seen before. Humans are forced underground due to some problems with the weather outside, though its not totally clear what the problem is, a whole world is built under the earth surface and is kept alive by a huge generator. The mayor of Ember is in trusted with a box that is set to open after 200 years the only problem is not long after one of the early mayor's death the box is lost and the residents of Ember are totally unaware and seeing as its forbid to leave the safety of the city limits no one has any idea of whats going on outside. There is only one problem, the food supply and generator is dying which means the lights and Ember's way of life are soon to be over. Think about it for a moment you live underground, the last thing you want is for the lights to go out. It gives me memories of a day camp I took to Mammoth Cave and we went into one of the caves that was off limits to the regular public much deeper than where the normal tours go.... the guide decided that it would be a great idea to show us what it looks like once you turn off all the lamps and lights. I'm not scared of the dark and I'm normally phobic of anything but seriously I had nightmares for weeks and still it makes my skin crawl as I can honestly say you have never seen dark until you see what it looks like when your that far underground. It was the closest I've ever been and ever want to be to being totally blind.

Lina the great great great great great (this can keep going) granddaughter of the Mayer who last had the box does not have it easy in life. Her parents died and she is left to live with her slightly crazy grandmother and her absolutely crazy hyperactive sister named Poppy. Her grandmother right before she dies keeps rambling about something she has lost and Poppy just happens to find the box buried in the closet and eats part of the contents. With the help of her friend Doon, Lina is determined to figure out what the box means and what it has to do with the builders. The only problem with all this is that the blackouts are getting worst and Doon discovers that the generator is on its last leg and it could fail at any moment. So Lina and Doon are working on borrowed time.

If you've not previously seen City of Ember I highly recommend it and it will be a great addition to your collection. City of Ember is available right now and you can pick up your copy on Amazon!

2 Comments:

Alexia said...

I read the entire Ember series and then watched the movie and then read your review and had to go check out the Amazon reviews - I'm a little shocked myself! While the movie doesn't go into the depth that the book did (isn't that normal for most movies-from-books?) I thought it was pretty good! The only thing I didn't like was the HUGE creatures...that was a little unbelievable and could have been left out. But I thought they did a rather well job of taking a book full of so much info and turning it into a movie that you could understand. It was much better than the recent Inkheart release.

Valerie said...

never heard of it, but will keep an eye out

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