If City of Ember hadn't been based on a best-selling childrens book (by Jeanne Duprau), it probably never would have been made. The movie is unrelentingly dark, both physically and metaphorically, in its imagining of a 200-year-old underground city originally designed to house the survivors of some sort of end-of-the-world scenario. Saoirse Ronan and Harry Treadway play kids determined find a way out of the dystopian hell theyre trapped in. Gil Kenan (Monster House) adequately brings the fantastic to life, but fails to invigorate it with the energy a Tim Burton or Terry Gilliam would have. The result is more dramatic than fun not quite the balance one wants out of a childrens movie, no matter how entertaining it is (95 min.).
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