Loved this movie!
K. Cysewski | COEUR D ALENE, ID, US | 01/08/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You need to know before going into this movie that this is NOT a movie for kids. It was strange watching it at first (how often do you see a dead body in an animated film in the first scene?), but once you get past the fact that this is an animated film for ADULTS, it's a very good movie.
For those of you who don't understand the movie, you weren't paying much attention. There were visual cues throughout as to where the machines come from (the BRAIN creates them) and also for where the characters 1-9 get their soul/s (they each get a *piece* of the scientist's soul). 9 gets the last piece of the scientist's soul, which is why the scientist died. Each character epitomizes various aspects of humanity: fear, survival, strength, courage, endurance, memory, self-sacrifice, etc.
The movie is rich with allusions and symbols that are drawn from human tendencies and survival instincts. I think it's one of those movies that you can watch over and over and find different meanings each time (if you're open to it). You could even go so far as to argue that the movie is religious in a way. The scientist gave his life to save humanity/life on earth. You could also say that the souls who are taken by the BRAIN are in a state similar to Limbo.
Also, one of the rag dolls is a female; what could be said about the fact that her soul came from a male scientist? Etc.
Very thought provoking and conversation starting movie. I loved every minute of it, and will watch it again."
Shane Acker's Animated Film is Original And an Exercise in O
Woopak | Where Dark Asian Knights Dwell | 09/12/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Based on the award-winning short film by Shane Acker, the CGI-animated full-length feature film "9" intends to expand on its myth and story. Acker himself takes the helm as director in this film co-produced by Tim Burton along with Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted). When I first saw the trailer for "9", I was blown away. I tempered my expectations when I went into the theater and did watch the film with an open mind. The film is a visually stunning piece with superb set designs and fluid animation whose style may have been inspired by traditional stop-motion animation.
In unknown time and place, a curious doll-like creature with the number "9" (Elijah Wood) on its back awakens to find his supposed creator (voiced by Alan Oppenheimer) dead. "9" has awakened in a barren world, this world is now a wasteland, destroyed by war; a war waged between humans and machines. "9" discovers that he is not alone, stumbling across a similar creature called "2" (Martin Landau) who also gets kidnapped by a mechanical monster. "9" then discovers that he is a "stitch punk" and there are more of his kind being led by "1" (Christopher Plummer). "9" sets out to rescue "2" but instead awakens an evil with the use of a talisman that may doom them all. It is now up to "9" and his brethren to try to discover the truth behind their creation....
"9" is the last created "stitch punk" and he is the final piece of the puzzle in the "9" mythos. These creatures are miniature creations that resemble a sack held together by either leather strings, metal snaps, buttons, zippers, or shoe strings. They have camera-like eyes and instant access to their innards. The characters in "9" are well thought out, # 1 is the supposed leader and the cautious kind--whose sensibilities are all about preservation. # 2 is the explorer and the inventor. # 3 and 4 are twins who are also mute, they keep the history of mankind. # 5 (John C. Reilly) is a healer and a skilled mechanic. # 6 (Crispin Glover) has near-psychic abilities who channels his visions through his drawings. # 7 (Jennifer Connelly) is a warrior and # 8 is the bodyguard of # 1, strong and fierce, yet innocent in a way. # 9 is the curious, selfless protagonist of the film. There is something relevant in the number "9", one can say that they are different "characters" or potentials of mankind. Acker definitely intended the film to revolve around the creatures in creating this world so full of obstacles that this miniaturized creatures can take advantage of with their size. Acker's keenness and passion for his creations are the film's highlights; the film is a stunning work of visual marvel and storytelling. It is a grand display of idiosyncrasy.
The world that the "stitch punks" live in is pretty barren with nothing else left living. While the characters can indeed be enthralling, Acker does lose his way a little in the film's direction. When you think about the plot in "9"; it makes very little sense. I found it hard to believe that `stitch punks' #'s 1-8 never had the chance to try and figure out their reasons of being. # 7 also points out that there is a battle but none were visible, save one mechanical beast, which was by the way dispatched so easily. No other machines were shown up until the `awakening' was brought into bear. I also found it hard to believe that there are no other surviving `organisms'; war is indeed horror but insects would always survive. Details were left out, giving the viewer several plot gaps to fill in.
The `stitch punks' characterization seem to be presented as they know what to do, but they don't know what and why they are there for. I found hard to buy into the fact that these creatures were designed as the `hope for the future' when they obviously were just contented to exist until events triggered by "9" managed to set things in motion. Time (and the passage of) needed to be more specific in the film to give the film's plot needed credibility. It leaves a lot of questions unanswered such as; why did it take so long for "9" to come along? How did the professor survive all those years? How many years have passed? The film's final act attempts to explain everything that also gives a sense of the mystical but it doesn't match its past groundwork. If they were meant to reignite the earth, then other things that you factor in such as the `mechanical monster-maker' would serve no purpose (can't discuss without spoiling the movie). The film is all about belief, philosophy and destiny with no viable application or expediency.
The animation-work in "9" is nicely executed. The colors, set designs are no means something really groundbreaking but I did appreciate its style. It does convey a mood that matches the film's tone. The film is also quite action-packed that action lovers will no doubt be entertained. The designs of the mechanical beasts were good, they mimic things that can be just freaky. The world of "9" is meticulously crafted. The film is a sci-fi mystery until things start to get moving, and the film becomes an actioner with plenty of swift although a bit repetitive movements. "7's" moves become redundant after awhile.
"9" isn't exactly a bad film but the film does feel too short and would have benefited to be much longer. Acker's storytelling had a lot of things going for it, but it just curiously stopped short in its execution and never realizes its journey. The `stitch punks' were involved in a mystery that had some compelling things going for it but they just weren't allowed to move around the depths of its core. Acker does rely too much on theatrics and never allows the viewer for a `nesting` stage to augment the wonder. The film is an average CGI-generated flick that may please those who like special-effects blockbusters but will turn off those who look for an intricate storyline. I appreciate brainless entertainment, but "9" pretends to have something deeper and ends up not fulfilling its promise. But "9" has its originality and vision. It is conscious that it is mighty eccentric and interesting; too bad the resolution is unsatisfying.
Recommended with caution, Rent it first [3 Stars= Good, Flawed But with Redeeming Qualities]
"We had such potential, such promise."
Westley | Stuck in my head | 01/09/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
""9" is an animated film based on the 2005 Academy Award nominated short film of the same name (which is included on the DVD). The film is the work of animator Shane Acker and was co-produced by Tim Burton, who got involved with the project after seeing Acker's short film. Although Burton did not write or direct "9," the film is very consistent with his past animated work such as "Corpse Bride." Set in a post-apocalyptic world, the movie focuses on a rag doll robot (!) named 9 who suddenly becomes sentient. As he explores his world, he discovers that the only other inhabitants are other, similarly numbered rag doll robots as well as a strange cat-like machine who hunts them. He befriends the other robots and changes their world drastically.
The world created in this film is fascinating and unlike any other animated film I've seen. I particularly loved the use of contrasts, including having the robots made of burlap and other unexpected materials (Acker has referred to the bots as "stitchpunks"). The "look" of "9" is by far its main draw, though, because unfortunately the plot is a rather drab and predictable affair with the robots fighting the cat-like machine (and then other machines). I found myself getting irritated by the repetitious battles and wanted to see more of this intriguing world. Likewise, I wanted to see more of the adorable "stitchpunks," especially the "cataloguing" scholars 3 and 4. Unfortunately, as soon as the robots are introduced they almost immediately start chasing the machines.
As with other Tim Burton produced animated films, "9" is not targeted toward children (it's rated PG-13); however, the plot was too juvenile to keep me interested. I actually strongly preferred the short film, which I watched after the feature-length movie. Indeed, the short film packs a real emotional wallop that is sadly missing in the full-length version. "9" is a noble failure (well semi-failure), and I applaud what Acker and Burton have tried to accomplish with this terrific looking film. I just wish that the plot had been worthy of the animation.
H. Ahlborn | 01/14/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Tim Burton has once again proven his subtle twisted genius as a storyteller. Like many, I saw previews for 9 in the movie theatre but missed seeing it on the big screen. I read the other reviews before renting this film & 2 out of the 3 rightfully praised the animation but sadly all 3 misunderstood the story. I hate spoilers but I feel it necessary to share a bit regarding the plot in hopes to inspire others to discover this wonderful film.
The 9 refer to 9 elements of the human soul which the Inventor never placed in his original creation and which were the only hope for a second chance for life on the planet. One reviewer mentioned that they were left with questions such as why are the 9 beings the only hope for humans when no humans were left on the planet. The answer is in the rain, which that reviewer must have missed. Rain/Water is a symbol of life universally.
Too often modern writers and directors spoon feed audiences everything so that it seems more and more modern audiences are hard pressed to add their own imagination/understanding to the story. Tim Burton has done a magnificent job of weaving ancient folk lore into a magical tale. I highly recommend this film to individuals & families alike. It is completely worth it!"