So, if you’ve been following this blog, you know that this past year I read the City of Ember series and was completely in love with it. Naturally I wanted to see the movie, which had to be good since the book was so awesome…
I really wanted to like the movie as much as I did the book, and it was ok. The adaptation really skimmed a lot of what made City Of Ember so good- the tension, the mystery, the hope and faith. Lina and Doon’s friendship in the movie makes it seem as if they’ve been friends forever when if you read the book you know that they had a slight falling out and hadn’t talked in years until Assignment Day.
Some other noteworthy issues: Giant bugs and critters. I don’t remember this being in the book AT ALL. I may be wrong, since last I read the book was last spring, but I don’t think I’d forget that. Giant bugs? That Doon asks his dad how could they have been so small before and so big now? Don’t remember that in the book. In the book I remember Doon being into bugs, but they were regular sized caterpillars and moths, not the giant bird sized moth in the movie that creeped me out even though it was kind of cute.
Furthermore, Doon asks that question and it never gets answered. I can only assume some form of radiation or something manmade in the city has happened to evolve the bugs to be so big but this isn’t referenced at all. It’s filler. Lina plays old tapes from her parents answering machine and I don’t remember that either. Nor do I remember Doon’s dad and Lina’s parents conspiring to escape together. Lina and Doon are the ones who discover the exit, by no way of any one other than themselves. Also in the movie, Poppy is portrayed as a 5 year old but in the book shes obviously a young toddler, like 2 or 3. The city was portrayed nicely, but that was it.
I get that the film did poorly at the box office. The film was missing the spark that made the story so good. It felt like a PBS special version of Ember and not a feature film. While it has great parts, such as the scenery, Bill Murray and Tim Robbins, Saorise Ronan and great effects- the characters and plot are just shells of what Ember truly is.
My advice: read the book, skip the movie.