City of Ember (2008)

One of my absolutely favorite movies.  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen this but I’m guesstimating that I’m probably at my 4th time watching this movie.  A little adventure fantasy movie as IMDB classifies it.

city of emberDirector: Gil Kenan

Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Harry Treadaway, Tim Robbins, Bill Murray, Toby Jones

This story is about the city of Ember.  Ember was built by the engineers and architects (a.k.a. the Builders) over 200 years ago underground to shield its population away from the destruction above ground that had happened.  They set a box that was set to countdown 200 years and was to be passed from mayor to mayor.  In the line, one of the mayors dropped dead suddenly and the box was tucked away.  The box however keeps counting down and no one knows these plans that the Builders had set.  Fast forward to the present, we are in city of Ember which is lit by many lamps hanging from the cieling.  At a certain age, the children each pick out of a hat what their job for the rest of their life will be supervised by the Mayor (Bill Murray).  We zoom in on Lina Mayfleet (Saoirse Ronan) who becomes a messenger and Doon Harrow (Harry Treadaway) who ends up working in the pipeworks.  At the same time, Ember is slowly dying as the generators are now failing and this results in blackouts that last longer and longer.  Doon knows that there has to be a way to fix it and he explores, while Lina also eventually realizes there are problems more serious than those that the Mayor insists on.  They both end up joining forces to save Ember and the people they care about in this underground city.

Why do I love this movie so much? First off, have you ever played Final Fantasy 7? I have, back in my high school years on my crappy PC that allowed me to play it on a window that was about a quarter (if not, an eighth) of the size of my actual computer screen.  If you’ve played that, you’ll realize that this movie starts off and the artwork resembles it so much. I’m not sure if it was inspired by FF7 but it was mesmerizing and beautiful to look at.  Every detail of Ember was so amazing and visually stunning.


What else is important in a movie? The background music was fantastic and it helped build the mood really well.  Plus, we also have to look at the actors and actresses in this one.  I’m a HUGE fan of Saoirse Ronan.  If you need me to jog your memory, she also did Atonement, Hanna and Lovely Bones, which are also very good movies.  She does an incredible job at being Lina Mayfleet, occupation Messenger, a big sister, a caring granddaughter and especially a concerned citizen.  Tim Robbins plays the role of Doon’s father and also the narrator of the movie. I have to give a little special mention to the role of the little girl that plays the younger sister of Lina Mayfleet.  She was super adorable and was absolutely wonderful.


Like any movie, there are imperfections.  There is a part where this time around (probably because of reviewing more movies I noticed) the CGI effects are pretty below average .I don’t want to expose that part because its super intense adventure sequence and contributes to the ending, but I even so, I still found it really fun and intense.

city of ember scene 1

Overall, I love this movie.  Its beautiful to watch, awesome cast matched with captivating music and a brilliant plot.  I personally couldn’t ask for more, fun and adventurous.  When I first saw this, I hadn’t even heard of it but the first second pulled me right in.

Seen this? Didn’t see this? Sounds like something you’d want to see? What did you think? Who is also a fan of Saoirse Ronan? I’m seriously looking forward to her new movie also based on a book about aliens (or something along those lines) called The Host.  I still have to actually check to see if the trailer is out.