Is City of Ember a Cure for Insomnia?


What do Tom Hanks, Tim Robbins, Martin Landau, and Bill Murray all have in common? They all had a hand in boring me to sleep last night thanks to the latest in fantasy book to kid’s movie City of Ember.

First, I couldn’t believe how slow-paced the film was. Even with all its stunning visuals and effects, it still plods along and becomes so tedious at times that the longer it went on the less I cared what was going on.

Bill Murray as the corrupt Mayor of Ember
Bill Murray as the corrupt Mayor of Ember

What’s going on? There’s this city underground on Earth (no, not Middle Earth, wrong fantasy story) called Ember. It’s been 200 years since anyone’s been aboveground and the generators are about to give out. But the corrupt mayor of Ember (Bill Murray after a paycheck and not laughs) wants to keep the citizens from knowing the truth. But there are those pesky kids who get in the way and try to foil his plans. After al, it is a kid’s movie.

But what really irked me was the lack of fun. Much like Inkheart, the whole movie is painful to watch. While the book may have had a strong message, the film dissolves any sense of meaning or moral from the narrative.


This strikes me as odd considering Walden Media, who has produced a number of successful movies for kids. I guess, much like Inkheart, after a while you scrape the bottom of the barrel.

For clarification, Tom Hanks produced the film through his company PlayTone, and is not an actor. Just in case anyone wanted to know. Also missing, besides Hanks and entertainment value are any special features. Unless trailers for direct-to-DVD movies are your idea of great bonus features!

City of Ember gets a mind-numbing D-. Thank goodness Brendan Fraser didn’t show up and coast through this film, too.

City of Ember
20th Century Fox/Walden Media/PlayTone
Starring Tim Robbins, Bill Murray, Martin Landau, Harry Treadaway, and Lucinda Dryzek
Rated PG for mild peril and some thematic elements.
Running Time = 95 minutes

And here’s the misleading trailer:

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