With four Academy Award nominations, five BAFTA nods, and a Golden Globe win under her belt by the age of 28, nobody’s going to deny that Saoirse Ronan is one of her generation’s finest talents. However, the actress should definitely stay away from YA fantasy, looking at how City of Ember and The Host turned out.
Fortunately, the fad to adapt any literary series with even the slightest hint of name value appears to by dying down at long last, coincidentally while the former finally manages to find an audience on streaming. As per FlixPatrol, City of Ember has made a dent in the Netflix most-watched chart (even reaching as high as fifth in the United Kingdom), 14 years after disgracing itself at the box office.
As is the case with almost every YA movie under the sun, the story unfolds in a dystopian future where two star-crossed lovers find themselves destined to save their society, and possibly the entire world. In this instance, it’s the malfunctioning generator of the titular city that begins to go on the fritz, forcing Ronan’s Lina and Harry Treadaway’s Doon to navigate a string of cryptic clues that will ultimately restore power and balance to their lives.
Reviews may have been lukewarm, but that still doesn’t cover the galling lack of interest audiences had in director Gil Kenan’s follow-up to the popular Monster House. On a budget of $55 million, City of Ember couldn’t even make it to $18 million globally, with less than $8 million of that total coming from domestic shores, which is awful when you consider it opened on over 2000 screens.