I just saw City of Ember, it was decent. (Open Spoilers)

I didn’t know it was based on a book (which I may read now), but the movie was interesting. There’s a fair bit of fridge logic but the movie does a good enough job of pacing it you really don’t notice the flaws while watching the film itself. The main problem I have is that things just seem to happen and characters seem to exist for no good reason. Now I’m the first person to defend people who try and break literary style and introduce superfluous things to experiment a bit, but it seems kind of stupid to introduce a character who seemed to exist for the sole purpose of illustrating what a dick the mayor was (the storehouse boy, the mayor could have just as easily taken the food himself). The mayor’s book also seemed to have absolutely no purpose, the one where they sneaked into the ceremony chamber to look at the book (“It’s the same print, this IS by the builders!” “Uh, thanks?”) was the only scene leaving me wondering “why?” It could have at least explained how to live in the outside world, build houses, farm and whatnot.

My main bit of fridge logic didn’t have to do with the elaborate deathtrap exit which is what a lot of people had issues with. I’m sure it would’ve worked a little better had they not lost the box for something like 80 years past the intended expiration date, my issue was with the entrance. Let’s face it, the only way to that bunker was down a waterfall/log flume, and even if that other river led down, it’s fairly deep water that was moving pretty fast leaving one to wonder how they got the equipment and materials to build a giant steampunk generator, let alone a well populated fully wired city with lights on an absurdly high cave ceiling. I was actually expecting the city to be on a cleverly concealed lift or the ceiling to open and reveal a walkway up which would have solved a few problems, if still require a little more suspension of disbelief to convince people would work.

[[On preview, they may have entered through the “unknown regions” but that would sort of defeat the purpose of the city if it had another blatantly obvious, easily accessible entrance on “ground level” imo.]]

Either way, it was interesting, the acting was pretty good. Bill Murray as always was good playing a somewhat squicky character as is his MO and I’d recommend anyone interested in the sort of post-apocalyptic escape plot or steampunk style (albeit a bit less fantastic) standards of living to check it out.

By the way, did the book (or its sequels) ever bother to explain exactly what they were hiding from? Judging by the sounds in the beginning and the fact the guy exploring the unknown may have been “contaminated” it sounded like nuclear war, but they seemed to leave it up to our imagination. That’s fine if that’s all we know, of course, but if anyone knows I’d love to hear it.

There is a prequel to City of Ember and two sequels… with probably another sequel on the way.

I am almost 40 and can only admit I like them because the local librarian is older than me and she likes them as much as I do.

There is some bullshit moral message always being passed off in the sequels/prequels but the story is excellent in each case. I prefer my post-apocalyptic tales to be full of guns and zombies but a pastoral tale with inquisitive kids is sometimes needed.

I’ve read the on of the sequels and the prequels, and although it is not exactly spelled out precisely what went down, its clear that they feared a war that would destroy nearly everything (nuclear/biological/chemical), and that war did apparently occur.

The book has been a favorite of mine for years, but when looking at it as source material, it is a Young Adult novel, maybe a hair below Harry Potter reading level.

I am not a fan of the sequels. I think they are VERY preachy in a hamhanded way.

This is one of those movies that I think wasted its potential. There was so much more that could have been done with this idea than what was actually done.

My pet peeve was the stupidity of the escape method. Among other aspects of this, the water tunnel kept going down until it finally bottomed out at the lake cave from which it was just a short climb up to the surface. The climb upward should have been much longer than a climb from the level of the city itself would be since they had been traveling down from the city. As the film depicted this, it wasn’t. From a practical standpoint, it is not what the Builders would have engineered.