Adapted from the novel by Jeanne DuPrau and directed by Gil Kenan (Monster House), City of Ember is a family orientated science-fiction/fantasy about an underground city powered by a dying generator. While trying to save the generator, teenagers Lina Mayfleet (Saoirse Ronan from Atonement) and Doon Harrow (Harry Treadaway from Control) discover that the inhabitants of Ember were supposed to have returned to the surface long ago. However, the city’s corrupt officials have a vested interest in keeping such information quiet.
Maverick director Terry Gilliam’s frequent run-ins with Hollywood are well documented, with the battle over the release of his masterpiece Brazil being the stuff of legend. But since Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe’s documentary Lost in La Mancha it began to appear that maybe Gilliam is his own worst enemy and that maybe he needs the ruthless studio system to keep him in check. Admittedly his recent studio film The Brothers Grimm was a highly flawed and forgettable film, although it did not quite deserve the critical savaging it received. However it does not even come near the depths that his independently produced Tideland descends to.