Wednesday, March 25, 2009
City of Ember
2008 adventure flick written by Caroline Thompson (Edward Scissorhands, Nightmare Before Christmas, etc) and directed by Gil Kenan, the wunderkind that brought us Monster House, and like then he created a movie that's fun, engaging, original and very entertaining (I'm pretty sure I reviewed Monster House as well and if not, you should check it out). City of Ember starts in the near future when, for reasons we aren't told, civilization, or at least the part that's connected to the locale of the film, is on the verge of perishing. In altruistic spirit, the best minds devise a city that will sustain itself underground en totale for centuries. They also include instructions to clearly and easily allow the people living in this underground city to exit back up to the surface should they need to in a couple centuries. Well, they build it and everything goes fine, but after about 150 years the instructions on how to get out are lost and now two teens think the city is falling apart and yearn for a way to get out. They come upon fragments of these instructions and see it as their chance. The movie is about two kids who have their head on straight in a society that seems far too naiive, afraid and/or self serving to buck up and address the problems that surround them. Well, not these two. The movie is full of excitement, great visuals and a fantastic production design. It manages to feel confined without feeling claustrophobic and the same goes for the story. The performances by the leads are great, as are some those in some smaller roles, such as those by Martin Landau, Bill Murray, Tim Robbins and Mary Kay Place. I must confess I had never even heard of this movie before my daughter and I went to see it at a family matinee. This is surprising given the cast, the director, the screenwriter, the fact that it's produced by Tom Hanks and given the fact that it's so darn good. Well, this is me saying you should check it out. Don't let it go unnoticed. If you have kids who like a good adventure flick (or if you liked them as a kid a la Goonies), then pick it up.