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City of Ember Quick Thoughts

Totes Me!
- Saoirse Ronan, who plays leading female character Lina, is actually not what one might call "conventionally" pretty within this type of movie. She's not "hot". She's about as plain as one can get.

- Treadaway, her co-star, isn't all that homely himself, but it's not like he's, you know, SUPER DREAMBOAT sort of hot, either.

- Most of the people in the movie aren't, though. It's kinda nice. You know. Seeing ordinary-ish people as main characters.

- Both are pretty white. Heh. Well, Irish white, I suppose, which didn't pass as white for a while.

- I really liked how it was never telegraphed that the two main characters, Lina and Doon, would end up romantically, up until Poppy shows up, and even then you get the sense of plenty of room for them to grow.

- Dudes, that setting is so totally steampunk. I really love the idea of houses built under a roof of lights.

- It's also a bit videogame-ish. It makes for a cute movie, but nothing really groundbreaking. The characters are also rather flat.

- Doon and Lina appear to take turns solving the puzzle, which I thought, I could totally get behind that. They're aided by Sul, a grizzled old man, towards the end, but it was really neat to see how both main characters got equal screentime.

- Poppy, Lina's little sister. WTF. The neat thing is she also solves stuff and gets a bit of screentime. A lot of it though, seemed to be that the point of her character is to show Lina's sisterly side. The result is that Doon and Lina end up looking like a young couple - although you still get the sense that they're in this out of circumstance, not romance.

- A lot of Lina's lines have something to do with Poppy. Does Granny count as a named character? If she does, then yes, the movie passes the Bechdel Test. If not, then not really, because Lina's conversations with Poppy tend to be one-sided. Well... I guess Lina's quick conversations with Clary count too. It was really neat though, to see a lot more WoC represented than in regular movies.

- Lina spends the majority of the time taking care of Poppy. Doon gives the occasional attention. Granted, Poppy's not his sister, but still, meh. Might the dynamics be more interesting if Poppy had been his sister?

- Why the hell are all the Pipeworks labourers shown male? At the beginning, Lina gets Pipeworks Labourer as her assigned job, but she swaps it with Doon, so we KNOW that gender couldn't possibly be the dividing point here, yet we don't see any female Pipeworks labourers, electricians, and engineers.

- Have I mentioned the steampunk atmosphere of the movie? I love how the clothes are uniquely stylized too. I really liked Lina's messenger outfit.

- Pacing. I really liked the pacing of this movie. It really immersed me into the setting, and I sort of wish the movie was a bit longer so I could sink in a bit more. I didn't quite like the ending, a bit too coincidental, but still. I imagine most action-oriented people would find it a bit slow, but I really liked the whole "let's solve the mystery!" feel of it.

- What would have been really neat would be exploring what happens when the people in the city find out they can leave. They seemed really opposed to change, so what would happen if they did get the opportunity for it?

There's also a discussion of the movie here at Hathor Legacy. I read it a while back but it still didn't quite inspire me to check the movie out. I only did because I suggested it myself as a reference for the Pipe RPG. Which you all should join. We're making Falkirin a steampunk-esque setting.

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Comments

( 3 Words — Have Your Say )
nolan_ash
Mar. 10th, 2009 03:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the review. I haven't seen this movie before, but I'm interested in doing so. Even if the movie's not fantastic, I get a lot of creativity fuel just seeing a unique setting like this. Cool!

- Why the hell are all the Pipeworks labourers shown male? At the beginning, Lina gets Pipeworks Labourer as her assigned job, but she swaps it with Doon, so we KNOW that gender couldn't possibly be the dividing point here, yet we don't see any female Pipeworks labourers, electricians, and engineers.

Well said. In my second novel, Clevermind, the protagonist is a goblin who lands in modern-day Olympia, Washington. In my book, goblin females are larger than males and the society is a matriarchy (goblins were the inspiration for the original tinkers, though they went in different directions.) The protagonist comes from the mines where females make up pretty much 100% of the physical laborers.

Where's a Rosie the Riveter icon when I need one?
fantasyecho
Mar. 10th, 2009 09:42 pm (UTC)
I think you'll like the setting a great deal, and to be fair, it's pretty fun to watch. I found it quite easy to relate to Lina and Doon, despite the lack of character development.
groovyjoss.wordpress.com
Apr. 29th, 2009 03:41 am (UTC)
Poppy
I came her via Hathor Legacy, it was after reading her post that I put City of Ember on my list of movies to watch, and only yesterday did I get around to it.

I thought Poppy was a nice touch. Like you say she got to solve something herself, and I think that it helps show some of the responsibility Lina has in her life before this. As an older sister, I think she acts in an older-sistery way, not in a motherly way. Also, if Poppy was Doon's sister, there would be overtones of 'man looking after woman', as it is I thought they got the balance pretty good, he looked after her as much as I would expect any friend to in that situation.
I do agree it made the end a bit 'couple-y', but part of that is our programming, anytime we start watching a movie we try and work out who gets together, and making assumptions when it isn't explicitly said... So I think if Poppy wasn't there at the end, assumptions of couple-ness would still have been made.

I totally agree with you about the outfits (where can I get a cape like that?) and yeah, why the heck aren't there any female pipe-workers? if they would give the job to a slight person like Lina, then surely there would be all types in there?
( 3 Words — Have Your Say )

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