City of Ember

Synopsis: When mankind is about to come to an end, a group of scientists decide to create and populate a city deep underground. The city of Ember is to last for 200 years after which its inhabitants are to retrieve from a strong box instructions to return to the surface. Over time however, the message is lost and life in Ember is rapidly deteriorating. Their power supply is failing and food is being rationed. It's left to two young adults to unearth the secret of Ember and to lead the way out.
Director(s): Gil Kenan
Production: Fox Walden
  6 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
90 min

On the day the world ended...

the fate of mankind was carried

in a small metal box.

In a secret location, architects,

scientists and engineers met...

and concluded that there was

only one hope for our future:

To build an underground city...

designed to keep its citizens

protected for generations to come.

Secure the box.

Set it for

We'll keep them in the city for 200 years.

You're certain

that'll be long enough?

None of us can be certain of anything.

We can hope.

Growing up with no knowledge

of a world outside...

future generations will be spared sorrow

for what they've lost.

For the good of all mankind.

The box was entrusted to the first mayor...

who was to pass it on

to her successor.

As the years counted down...

the box passed from mayor to mayor.

None knew what secrets it held...

only that it would open

when it was needed most.

But fate ran another course...

and the chain was broken.

The box was tucked away

and forgotten...

- and as the city grew old and began to crumble...

the box quietly clicked open.

- Dad, do you hear that?

- Uh, hurry up. You don't wanna be late.

- I am hurrying.

- I'm proud of you, Son.

- Today's a big day.

- Yeah.

I just hope I don't get assigned

some useless job.

You can't control what job you get on

Assignment Day. That's not the point.

The important thing is to do-

your part.

One, two, three, four...

five, six, seven, eight-

They're getting longer.

- That one was.

- Yeah, and it's the third one this week.

The Generator's

our only source of power.

- All Electricians and Wiremen-

- If it goes-

- are advised to report to their stations.

- We all go.

- That's dramatic.

- Dad, this place is falling apart.

No, I will not just sit around

while Ember collapses.

I'm getting into that Generator,

whatever it takes.


on achieving

this momentous occasion:

Your Assignment Day.

I'm late!

- Lina, are you and your granny all right?

- Yeah, we're fine.

- You all right, Mr. Tock?

- Just another blackout, Lina.


Be you eight or 18, the time has come...

- to answer the call to service.

- Hi, Mr. Boaz.

- Stop!

- Produce the Book Of The City Of Ember.

- You need to sign in!

- I'm late!

Psst! Lizzie.

- We swear-

- Eternal loyalty to our city.

We declare our infinite gratitude

to the Builders...

who chose this site

with the greatest care.

We flourish above

our mighty flowing river.

We thrive thanks to the unbounded

capacity of our mighty Generator...

beating at our very center

like a magnificent heart.

Beyond Ember, the darkness

goes on forever in all directions.

Ours is the only light in a dark world.

It's true.


Be the first to discover your future.

Reach in, young man.

Read it aloud.

Electrician's Helper.

I get to work in the Generator.

Timekeeper's Assistant.

You get to work with clocks.

- Building Repair Assistant.

- They have a lot of fun.

- Greenhouse Helper.

- That-a girl.

- Potato Peeler.

- You're gonna come in handy.

- Warehouse Clerk.

- A vital job.

Pick one, young lady.


Louder, so we can all hear.

I'm a Pipeworks Laborer.

You're a very fortunate girl.

That is an important job.

- Mold Scraper.

- We got a Mold Scraper. Great.


- I picked a dull job, but compared to yours-

- Lina.

- Mine's a shining light bulb.

- Lina.

- Scream if you need me.

- Trade with me.

- What?

- Swap jobs. Please. You have to.

You want to work in the Pipeworks?

I want to be Electrician's Helper and work

in the Generator, but Joss won't swap.

I would rather die

than be a Messenger.

- I don't want to waste my time while the whole city crumble-

- Yes.

- What?

- Yes.

- Thank you, Doon!

- Thanks!

#The light from the lamp is not all #

- #There is a brighter light ##

- Mrs. Murdo!

- How was your Assignment Day?

- I'm a Messenger!

That's wonderful, Lina!



Granny! Where are you?

I'm a Messenger.

You shouldn't make things up.

You-You're not a Messenger, Lina.

But today was Assignment Day,



- Where's Poppy?

- Poppy?

- Poppy?

- She was helping me look for something.

L- Here's Poppy.



Poppy, take that out of your mouth.


- It's for you.

- Thank you.

- I made it.

- Yeah, I can tell.

- Uh, what's it for?

- It's for your graduation.

I mean, what does it do?

You'll figure it out.

There's more to a bottle cap than

keeping liquid from leaking out of glass.

The main thing is, pay attention.

Pay close attention to everything-

everything you see.

Notice what no one else notices...

and you'll know

what no one else knows.

What you get is what you get.

What you do with what you get-

That's more the point.

Wouldn't you say?

Really useful, Dad.

Don't you want to eat?

I'm not hungry.

I mean, we'll have to replace those.


Shh, shh, shh, shh. Hey, it's okay.

You hurt your wing.


- Good night, Lina.

- Good night, Poppy.

I'll play you the voices

while you fall asleep, okay?



Anybody home?

Don't hold dinner for me, darling.

I'll be there before lights out.

Mrs. Mayfleet, your shoes are ready.

Hi, Raine. It's Clary.

The sprinkler system's down

again in number two.

Raine, it's me, Barrow.

I've been thinking about it.

I watch my boy and...

I've come around.

I've changed my mind.

I'm in.

Where do you go?

Lina Mayfleet, reporting for duty!

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Caroline Thompson

Caroline Thompson (born April 23, 1956) is an American novelist, screenwriter, film director, and producer. She wrote the screenplays for Tim Burton's films Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Corpse Bride. She co-wrote the story for Edward Scissorhands and recently co-adapted a new stage version of the film with director and choreographer Matthew Bourne. Thompson also adapted the screenplay for the film version of Wicked Lovely, a bestselling fantasy series, in 2011, but the production was put into turnaround. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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