City of Amber movie review: In the futuristic but strangely antiquated City of Ember, citizens live underground, are forbidden to go outside city limits and receive all power from a central generator and food from storage overseen by the Mayor (Bill Murray). When the generator goes down, two plucky kids (Saoirse Ronan, Harry Treadaway) try to find a way out of the city and into the natural light. Tim Robbins and Martin Landau also star.
The buzz: With a title no more enthralling than Body of Lies, City of Ember doesn't look like much, despite the presence of Murray and the young, Oscar-nominated Ronan (Atonement). The film's based on Jeanne Duprau's book and directed by Gil Kenan, who helmed the immensely overrated Monster House. Whoopee.
The verdict: City of Ember gets some good goofiness from Murray—the only actor here having any fun--and some OK visuals that guarantee this won't disintegrate your brain the way family-friendly fare like Star Wars: The Clone Wars does. But the vaguely drawn, bone-dry story will almost certainly bore both you and the child/kid brother/nephew/court-appointed protégé you brought along--unless they truly love learning about pipes and power sources. The movie's kinda like a youth-oriented puree of Dark City, Children of Men and The Truman Show, generating little magic when all it does is spark your memory of other movies. This may not be a huge issue for the under-9 crowd, but I'd still prefer a kids' movie that fails daringly over one that hovers so placidly around the middle. Source: Metromix
Box Office: City of Ember was all in all a box office failure. On its opening weekend, the film opened poorly at #11 at the box office with $3,129,473. As of February 20, 2010, the film has grossed $7,873,007 domestically and $10,056,677 internationally totaling $17,929,684 worldwide, well below its $55 million budget.