When the marketing first hit for this film last year I thought it looked interesting. The images were compelling and the plot seemed interesting.
I was wrong.
Yes, the design work for the film is fully realized. It has a distinct look and feel and it's memorable. Unfortunately, that’s the only successful element in the production. The story never rises above its conceits, the dialog is uninspired and the acting is stilted because the characters are written so thinly. Even Bill Murray, who I like, fails to bring anything to the film. His scenes look like he flew in for a few days, quickly wrapped his scenes and headed on out. He pops in every once in a while, smirks and then disappears leaving no significant impact.
The film tells the tale of the City of Ember, a subterranean city that is lit by lamps. Humans have been forced underground for two hundred years and now the generator is failing. Two teens stumble upon the secrets behind their dimming town and rush to figure out the clues to the secret before everyone is sent into darkness. This is a very good concept. This had the potential to be a great family movie, but in the end it is just another sloppy adaptation. The production as a whole isn’t awful, but it doesn’t shine either. It all just sits there, a cinematic lump with nothing to do. There’s no real point it seems and given that the whole endeavor fails to justify its existence the audience is left watching scene after lumbering scene without any momentum. When the final act comes in I couldn’t have been less interested, and couldn’t have been more bored.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008)
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Guest Reviewer: Jeff Burton