#25 City of Ember
It’s just your typical post-apocalyptic, underground city is going to be destroyed and all of humanity rests on two children’s shoulders, Christian allegory starring Bill Murray and Tim Robbins (Who, I’m pretty sure, is a devout atheist in real life–weird, huh?). The basic plot is pretty straightforward. Mankind, in the throes of some major catastrophe builds a city underground and sends a small group of people to live in it. They leave instructions in a time-release box on how to leave the city in 200 years. Somewhere along the line, the box is lost, and no-one knows they are supposed to leave. Well, the city is falling apart along with it’s power source, and it’s up to a ragtag little girl and her ambitious young friend to rescue mankind from poor leadership and blind fear of the unknown.
It’s a little heavy handed at times, and the parallels to the walk of a Christian are pretty obvious throughout, but that doesn’t detract from the story. You pretty much know how the movie must end before the first act is even done, and it seems a little slow in setting the stage. I kept thinking to myself, “Okay, enough with the setup, let’s get to the story.” Then, somehow, once the action really started, I realized that all the setup was necessary, and it wouldn’t have been nearly as good without it. This movie is kind of sneaky like that. You know what to expect, and yet, it still surprises you by doing exactly what you expected it to do, all along. It’s based on a book, written for young readers, and the movie is clearly aimed at that same audience, but I think adults will also get something from the film. Though it is dark, and sinister in places, and there really is a sense of urgency and terror throughout the movie that will surely enthrall young audiences, it also has a more or less positive message, and I believe that any stress it might cause youngsters will be worth it for the lessons learned. The bad guys get their comeuppance, and the good guys triumph, and an adventure awaits in the City of Ember.
An added bonus for knitters: There’s a couple of scenes involving yarn and knitting, including an integral scene near the beginning!