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City of Ember Review

Movies.com Critics

4.5

Dave White Profile

...tougher and stranger than most kid movies Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0
    58

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    Stalls at the intersection of fantasy and science fiction.

    Read Full Review

  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    At its best when sticking to a classic sci-fi-fantasy format. But when it tries to be a generic thrill ride, it loses its originality and peculiar charm.

    Read Full Review

  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly

    The story, which follows two kids who try to save their burg from blackouts, isn't well-executed, losing itself to unclear mythology and sci-fi gibberish.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    If older kids and adults seek out this picture, which 20th Century Fox and Walden Media clearly aren't sure how to sell, they may well find themselves drawn into a subterranean world of considerable imagination.

    Read Full Review

  • See all City of Ember reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 8+

Fast-paced fantasy has lots of tense moments.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this fantasy based on the popular middle-grade novel of the same name doesn't have much to worry about in the way of sexual content, language, drinking, or strong violence. But its constant tension and often-dark mood -- it's about a decaying underground city founded to make sure humanity survived the end of the world -- make it too intense for the youngest viewers. The teenage main characters face challenges ranging from corrupt officials to a ravenous giant mole; they navigate these problems with persistence and resourcefulness.

  • Families can talk about why so many of the grown-ups in Ember were afraid or unwilling to accept what was happening to the city. Why were Lina and Doon different? Do you think that's a realistic reflection of the differences between adults and kids? Assuming the city's resources hadn't started failing, do you think Ember could have survived indefinitely? Is it possible to set up an ordered society? Families who've read the book can also discuss how the movie is similar and different. Which do you like better? Why?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: The young protagonists are resourceful, determined, curious, and independent -- which presents a stark contrast to the blithe denial or fearful acceptance of most of the grown-ups. Some adult characters are selfish and corrupt. Lina is a strong female character, but there's not too much diversity in Ember.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence and scariness: Several tense scenes involving a ravenous giant mole, which pursues the main characters very aggressively and is quite creepy and scary. It's implied that one supporting character dies violently (not shown); another, the only guardian of two children, passes away peacefully. Some chase scenes and brief scuffles between characters. The main characters are frequently in danger. A ride down a powerful river has lots of perilous moments.

  • sex false0

    Sexy stuff: Not an issue

  • language false0

    Language: One use of "sexy."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not an issue

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