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TOP 100 MOVIES in 2008!
Directed by Gil Kenan
For generations, the people of the City of Ember have flourished in an amazing world of glittering lights. But Ember's once powerful generator is failing ... and the great lamps that illuminate the city are starting to flicker. Now, two teenagers in a race against time, must search Ember for clues that will unlock the ancient mystery of the city's existence, and help the citizens escape before the lights go out forever.
It's hard to make a good science fiction film, about as hard as to make a good kid's film that will both hold a child's attention and entertain an adult who has to sit through it with them. City of Ember manages both, creating a complex and believable future world.
It's a world where kids still worry about whether or not they'll get to do what they want with their lives, where parents do not always have the answers or even behave responsibly, and where sometimes the smallest citizens make the biggest contributions.
Ember isn't perfect by any means, but it's damn close. It's an even subtler take on the potential failures of modern society than explored in the summer's amazing Wall-E, without the obviousness that made that film easier to read but less interesting to discuss.
In Ember, the remainder of humanity lives underground in a "miraculous" buried city, hiding from an unnamed cataclysm that has made the surface uninhabitable. But the key that was to be passed down through the generations to lead humans back onto the Earth when it was again safe has been lost. The city is dying, ready to bury its population forever in darkness.
The heroes of the piece are two children, Doon and Lina, on the verge of adulthood in Ember. This means being assigned the jobs they will hold for the rest of their lives - without any regard to what their actual desires may be. But it may not matter if Ember itself has little time left to survive.
The action sequences are terrific, the kind of exciting rollercoaster ride like you go into an Indiana Jones film hoping for, and the kind that recent Hollywood mega-budget blockbusters like Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and National Treasure 2 have disappointed on. There are creatures, and humor, and lots of bravery.
All in all, a very good afternoon's entertainment, for the whole family.
3 out of 4 stars