Friday, March 13, 2009

City of Ember (2008)

I’m probably one of the few people on the planet who has not read the Ember books by Jeanne Duprau. This is not due to some form of arrogance or ignorance on my part, but rather, lack of time. When the movie made from the first book was released on DVD earlier this year, I was excited to see it and learn for myself the reason for the hoopla over these books.

Imagine living so far underground, you never see the sun. What if all your light was electric and provided by a generator that worked inconsistently, and the moments of darkness were darker than the blackest night? This is the only life the inhabitants of the City of Ember have ever known. Years before, their ancestors built them their city to protect them from a crumbling civilization on the surface. The plan was to keep the people underground only for a short time, but then the instructions on how to return were lost.

Now, the people are running out of food, and the generator is failing more and more often. Two young adults, Doon Harrow and Lina Lightfoot, stumble across some clues which make them believe they know the way out, but why won’t anyone listen to them? Why does everyone seem content with life the way it is, even when that life will soon cease to exist?

This movie was a fantastical family adventure that I greatly enjoyed. It was interesting to me to think about how hundreds of people would survive deep underground, and how corruption would naturally come into play as resources became scarce and self-preservation was the driving force behind all decisions. There are some moments of mild peril, so I wouldn’t recommend it for very young children, but I think viewers ages eight and up will appreciate this film, which was rated PG.

Mini Reviews:

The Cat in the Hat (2003) It was crass, the comedy was forced, and it’s not even worth a full review, so it’s not going to get one. Let’s just say, don’t waste your time. Stick with the original Seuss.

Sense and Sensibility
(2008) This remake of the classic Jane Austen story of two sisters and their different approaches to love was respectable, but can’t compare to the Emma Thompson/Kate Winslet version of 1995. I have to give them credit for trying—the acting was good and the soundtrack was nice, but I’ve still got my favorite and that hasn’t been ousted. I’m sorry.

Madame Curie (1943) I was completely fascinated by this film, which stars Greer Garson as Marie Curie and Walter Pidgeon as Pierre Curie. Brought together by their intense passion for science, the Curies spent most of their time in their research laboratory, content in each other’s company. The film follows Marie’s climb from schoolgirl to researcher, through her tender attachment to Pierre, and then rejoices with her as she discovers a new element, which would become known as radium. It was interesting to see the intense amount of work that went into the discovery, and how well she and Pierre worked together to bring about her dream. This movie was educational, exciting, and romantic, all at the same time.

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Ali Cross said...

We loved this movie!

We have never have read the books. But we really, really liked the movie :)

Nichole Giles said...

I haven't seen this, but my son has. He liked it a lot and now I'm interested in seeing it too. I may have to rent it.


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