The Fire Still Burns

The list of interesting movies which didn’t get the attention of the mainstream audience is endless. I would add a movie released in 2008 to the list. It had less scope to be popular here because the first big mall in my state opened only in 2009 and a multiplex in the form of Cinemax only followed at the same mall much later. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the people I know haven’t watched this one. Yes, Star Movies is once again the channel which has made this movie known here.

I am hoping to have more people getting to know about this movie. It was a box-office flop, and I can only wonder about the reason for the same in North America. May be people misunderstood and expected the wrong thing from this movie. The reviews were positive to mixed, but things didn’t work well with the audience. This movie is an adaptation of a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel by Jeanne DuPrau which was published in 2003, and this lone flick which remains the only one in the franchise is known by the name, City of Ember.

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The movie was released just about two months after the release of the last book in the series; The Diamond of Darkhold – but thanks to the terrible reception by the audience, it remains the only movie of the franchise, with any hope for a sequel lost without hope. City of Ember is a movie which deserved more. May be it released a little bit too early, considering the increase in the viewership of English movies now and also the better love for the movie adaptations from books. It can do well with a reboot during these times.

City of Ember has a very interesting setting. It takes us to a dystopia which has existed for a long time after something like an end of the world had happened. The human civilization is limited to this world underground which is actually running short of supplies. As the new world was established inside a giant cave, the generators falling apart meant continuous darkness and the trouble with plumbing works happened to be other reasons along with the food shortage. As the leaders refuse to accept the doom and won’t allow an exploration to the outside, there is no easy way out.

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The movie uses the idea of the dystopia, and how it chooses to remain the same without going to explore the other possibilities due to concern, fear, anxiety and thoughts of losing power. The present city gives them what they want, and it goes on and on in the same way without any change, and it has worked for them. So, even in a distant future with things seemingly getting worse, they have that feeling that everything will get back to normal and everything will be all right.

The design of the world is indeed special and has a special dark beauty for itself. The performances add to the total charm. Saoirse Ronan leads the team with that charm that not many young actresses could come up with. It might be one of those movies which established her talents so early. Harry Treadaway follows and he does a significant job in keeping side efficient. I would still say that even with fair performances from the rest of the cast, nobody can match the leading lady on the screen.

City of Ember itself is a reflection of our present world in which the situation is getting worse and nobody cares. The only difference is that our planet can still be saved, and an escape is not the best solution. But the much needed qualities to inspire the same is missing, and people were fed with a need to win at any cost, right from their childhood – so it will actually be a strange thing if someone actually bothers about the humanity as a whole without caring for the personal gains.

***The images used in this blog post are cropped from the screenshots taken from the movie.

TeNy