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Page # 2179

zz24| City of Ember
Director: Gil Kenan
Screenplay: Caroline Thompson, Jeanne Duprau
Producer: Diana Choi, Gary Goetzman, John D. Schofield, Steve Shareshian, Tom Hanks
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Toby Jones, Bill Murray, David Ryall, Ian McElhinney
Genre: Action & Adventure

Running Time: 90
Aspect Ratio:  1.33:1 (NTSC Widescreen)
Sound: AC-3
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Studio:  20th Century Fox DVD Region:  1 PG
DVD Release:  Jan 2009 Discs:  1 (DVD) [$14.98]
Reviews:  Light bulbs speckle the sky instead of stars in "City of Ember", a fantasy in which a secret city has been built to preserve mankind from worldwide disaster. But over time, the purpose of the city is lost--and the city gradually decays. As power failures threaten to bring on the collapse of everything, young messenger Lina Mayfleet (Saoirse Ronan, "Atonement") discovers damaged instructions for leaving the city. Her friend, pipeworker Doon Harrow (Harry Treadaway, "Brothers of the Head"), helps her find the hidden mechanisms that will let everyone escape...but the city's corrupt Mayor (Bill Murray) is more interested in personal gain and tries to stop Lina. "City of Ember" begins marvelously; the story unfolds smoothly, the production design is rich and engaging, the young leads are charming (Ronan is particularly good), and Murray is as superb as ever. Unfortunately, the movie starts to stumble; some plot turns are baffling (there seems to be some connective tissue left on the cutting room floor) and what should be an action climax flounders with subpar special effects. But even when the movie loses its sure-footedness, there are delightful moments and visual wonders. The strong supporting cast includes Tim Robbins, Mary Kay Place ("Sweet Home Alabama"), Mackenzie Crook ("The Office"), Toby Jones ("Infamous"), and Marianne Jean-Baptiste ("Secrets & Lies"). "--Bret Fetzer"

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