City of Ember Gil Kenan

City of Ember Gil Kenan
With flaws in logic, plot progression and dramatic reveals, there is much to criticize with the ecological disaster allegory City of Ember. There is, however, much to champion as well, given the intricate nature of the constructed world and the constant unsettling feeling of danger and impending change conveyed through tone and political climate, which shares more with Labyrinth and Dark City than anything involving the kids in Narnia or Hogwart's. While not completely successful creating a cohesive world with appropriate back stories and dramatic tensions, especially given how swiftly the film pushes along, Ember is visually stunning and consistently entertaining, offering up puzzles, gadgets, monsters, interesting political subtext and a secret quest that should appeal to its youth market. The lead performers are strong and their journey is ultimately identifiable and fully expressed through the sapient notion of braving darkness to find the light, both literally and figuratively. Without sun in Ember, this resultant odyssey may be obvious, as the film starts with a prologue some 200 years earlier outlining a secret box to be handed down through generations of mayors until the time expires, revealing a secret to the underground city. A series of events leaves the box inadvertently in the care of Lina (Saiorse Ronin), a messenger whose father drowned years before in an escape attempt with Doon Harrow's (Harry Treadaway) father (Tim Robbins). With the help of Doon, Lina uses the contents of the box to escape the oligarchy (Bill Murray, Toby Jones) of Ember and find a possible life outside. Political and environmental awareness exist within the film but are not doted on, leaving the focus on the journey itself. The DVD has a special features tab that includes only trailers for straight-to-DVD children's titles, including a Garfield cartoon involving super-powers. (Fox)