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City of Ember Review

The premise was what drew me into this film, and while it is definitely a family friendly watch, watching it alone as an adult wasn’t a bad experience.

City of Ember follows the human race who have had to go underground due to the world ending and have been there for over 200 years dealing with everything that comes with hiding, including food shortages and energy issues, as well as constant blackouts that could bring enemies and predators to their colony.

As the mayors of this city changed throughout the years a box was handed down through them, a box that would one day reveal the chance for the City of Ember to return to the surface and be normal humans once more. However this box is misplaced and its contents aren’t found until our plucky heroes, two young teenagers, discover what is inside.

This movie reminds me of others like The Hunger Games because it features a dystopian future where children aren’t seen as children anymore but as puzzle pieces in society to keep it going. One of the first things we see is children picking out of a bag the job that they will be doing it seems for the rest of their lives, and some of the children are very young, and in our 21st-century society they would be seen as children and not workers however in this dystopian future clearly it’s all hands on deck to keep the colony going.

As we are unable to read the letter that was left in the box for the mayors it’s unclear whether it was just the mayor and the higher ranking society that were meant to be able to leave this colony or whether it’s everyone, because that fact is left out it’s hard to see certain characters as antagonists unless they are of the impression that they want to keep the colony underground. We never get to understand this part of the story and so the children being hunted by the mayor doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, when what they are doing would benefit everyone.

Another inclusion that didn’t sit right with me was the way the children let the colony know that it was safe to come to the surface. They used a rock with a message written on it down into the colony that they could see from the surface through a hole, but how I see the world ending is that there’s been a nuclear war that has a lot of fallout that they need to run away from, so how can there be a hole in the sky for this fallout to enter the colony anyway? And how has no one ever looked up before and seen this hole? As we see in the film it’s not that far away in terms of distance from the colony, so if someone with very good eyesight looked up they would’ve easily seen it, and it’s hard to believe that no one had.

While I do have a lot of nitpicks with this film being an adult watching it I do feel if you watch it with your family your children could really enjoy it because it has that suspense and darkness that will scare them, but not too much in that it will scar them for life. It’s a very interesting concept of a colony of people being sent down into the darkness to escape whatever happened on the surface, and after watching this film and having questions remaining I do wonder if the book would delve more into them and give me the closure that I am hoping for.

If you want a family friendly dystopian future film to watch then I definitely recommend this, however it is not the most highbrow of pieces and so for me would not be a rewatch any time soon. It was perfectly fine but didn’t excite me in any way, and I feel there are other dystopian young-adult family friendly films out there that I would much rather watch than this one.

What do you think of City of Ember?

Until next time.

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