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City of Ember 

Kids of the future save the world from darkness in this family adventure

click to enlarge 42_city_of_ember.jpg

Give today's perilous economic and geo-political climate, I applaud dystopian features aimed at tweens. It's high time they get used to no resources, broken infrastructure, isolated fearful communities run by ineffectual adults and, potentially, no future at all. That said, Gil Kenan's fantastical family adventure, adapted from Jeanne Duprau's novel, does manage to literally find some light amid the gloom, as two teen-agers race to keep the lights on in the their underground city. A cast of comfortably familiar older actors -- Bill Murray, Toby Jones, Mary Kay Place, Martin Landau and Tim Robbins -- should keep adults mildly amused, while Saoirse Ronan (Atonement) and Harry Treadaway (Brothers of the Head) as the dreamy teen saviors will give the young 'uns someone to root for. I wished the story could have been more complex -- I've not read the book -- but then again, any film that pits Murray against a gigantic man-eating mole is worth noting.

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