Review: “9”

September 11, 2009 at 5:46 pm Leave a comment

The first feature length film from Shane Acker, and based on his award-winning short film of the same name, 9 tells the story of a small band of heroes who must stop an out-of-control machine in a post apocalyptic world.  While the animation is great, and the theme darker in tone that most Hollywood-produced CG animated films, the reach of the story itself falls a little short to consider this one a classic.

Elijah Wood plays 9, the last in a series of tiny machines created during the final days of humanity.  He meets others like himself: 5 (John C. Reilly), 1 (Christopher Plummer), 7 (Jennifer Connelly), 6 (Crispin Glover), and a few more.  1 takes it upon himself to be the group’s leader, with the objective to simply survive in this harsh world.  9, however, feels that they were built for a purpose, and sets out to fulfill his destiny when they fall under attack by vicious machines.

The tone of the movie is considerably darker than films from, say, Pixar, which might turn some parents away from letting their children see this film.  Keep in mind, if you have children younger than 10, this might be a little much for them.  The Earth is decimated: cities are in ruins, the sky is polluted, and a malevolent machine rules over all.  9 is not a ‘happy’ story by any means.

Nor is it a complete downer, either.  At its heart, it’s an action/adventure movie with some very well-choreographed action scenes.  There’s a sequence involving a flying pterodactyl-like machine that’s attacking the group, and the way they bring it down was more exciting than any scene in all of this summer’s Wolverine flick.  Boys especially may get a kick out of this; it’s fun, exciting, and moves at a good pace.  There’s never really a ‘dull’ moment in all of 9.

Unfortunately, the story itself falls short with some plot holes that Shane Acker seems to make us accept without question.  Without spoiling too much, there’s a device that awakens the evil machine, and it’s inadvertently done by 9 himself.  But, that makes me think: ‘What if 9 never did that?  If the machine is never given this device, it never awakes, and doesn’t continue to wreak all this havoc, right?  So, what would’ve happened if 9 never did any of that?  No movie, meaning the heroes’ existence if kind of pointless.’

And there are other questions like “how did the evil machine get deactivated in the first place?”, “how did are heroes ‘awaken’?, “where did all the machines go?” and others that I can’t put here without giving too much of the plot away.  It feels like a story that would’ve been better served as a mini-series, or at least give it a sequel.

Still, 9 is great fun.  I honestly didn’t feel any emotional connection to this like I did with Pixar’s Up, but I still had a good time watching it.  Fans of animated movies should also check this out, since the animation looks brilliant throughout (except for one or two spots where the close-up textures looked kinda flat).  The whole experience was like watching a Saturday morning action cartoon, similar to Batman: The Animated Series from the early 90’s.  If you’re in the mood of a nice adventure flick, 9 isn’t a bad choice.


(images from Yahoo!)


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