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2009 computer animated film directed by Shane Acker and produced by Tim Burton.

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"9" floats in some strange space between The Disney-Pixar Audience & the quasi-adult Shrek Audience

  • Sep 12, 2009
  • by
Call me crazy, but right away this movie seemed like something that belonged in the Wachowski Brother's The Animetrix. The dark, cerebral mood combined with the green aesthetics made me think of "The Matrix." That, and the post-apocalyptic, post-man-machine war story backdrop. Only in this case, the humans lose. That's where the story of 9 begins.

A synopsis of the story is difficult because the movie doesn't really give you much indication about where the story is going until the very end. But it begins with a puppet-bot named 9 who, after waking up from some kind of unconscious state, finds himself in the afore mentioned post-apocalyptic world. He meets other puppet-bots like himself, and they set out to rescue a friend. Well, actually, they're setting out to find out the mystery of their own origins but they don't know that. There are, of course, clues that will help them along with this. One of them being a metal amulet with ancient like inscriptions. The movie blends a tad of Tim Burton's signature sense of oddity and wonder with some split-second scares that will keep you on your toes – or, at least, on the edge of your seat. Some might suggest to you that the movie is far too intimidating for kids. That might have been true for my generation of kids, but today's kids will probably enjoy the scares and be equally endeared to the puppet-bots.

More importantly, kids will overlook some of the problems with the plot, and there are a few.

One such problem is that the point of the movie isn't really divulged until the last twenty minutes or so. Up until that time, you're pretty much watching a rescue mission. That would be fine if it weren't for the fact that the rescue mission begins so suddenly that 1) It's not clear why 9 -- the main character --has so much motivation to save a puppet he's only met five minutes ago, and 2) Why we, the audience, should care since we too have only met this puppet five minutes ago. Even stranger is that this movie is only 1:20 minutes long. With such a short runtime, clearly, the creators could have thrown at least 20 more minutes into establishing a stronger connection with the introductory characters. Without these emotional strings attached, 9 becomes something of a special-effects action movie and I don't think that is what the movie was intended to be.

The good news is that its easy to imagine these mis-steps (if I can call them that) as being considered minor by most people so there is hope that the movie can be a success. I say that because I'm rooting for this movie. I'm a fan of animation, especially those that are brave enough to float between the Disney-Pixar audience and the quasi-adult Shrek audience. 9 floats somewhere in this free space, and hopefully there will be better written versions of this one in the not-so-distant future. Maybe even as soon as 10-10-10.
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More 9 reviews
review by . September 12, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
         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 …
review by . July 21, 2011
Essentially a feature-length expansion of the impressive short film that director Shane Acker created as a student project at UCLA, this CG cartoon is considerably better than its mild stateside reception might suggest. What it lacks in story and character development, 9 compensates for with an ingenious production design, extraordinary graphics and an endearing sincerity.      Set in a war-ravaged landscape devoid of organic life and inhabited by nine sentient, action figure-sized …
review by . March 29, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
 9 is a post-apocalyptic film where the human race was entirely destroyed by stronger, and more intelligent machines that completely blew to pieces any army the world could come up with. But just before his death a scientist tries to keep the world going, so he creates nine rag dolls that come alive, and can talk. #1 (Christopher Plummer) is the obvious leader of the group, and knowing that they have no chance at defeating the great machine monters he insists on hiding until the one day that …
review by . November 06, 2009
I heard about "9" like most people did, sitting a dark movie theater waiting for my movie to play. And as I was waiting a quaint and dark little trailer started to roll it showed a bombed out city and as I watched I became more and more intrigued at the premise of the film and the dark, Gothic style it infused with the brilliant and breathtaking animation. But I didn't see it it until about a month later and now I'm regretting not having seen it while it was in theaters, Shane Acker and …
review by . September 15, 2009
Not sure whether this is about the world of the future, or the world of another dimension.  Could be either.  Human beings have been wiped out by evil machines.  The only life left are numbered "rag dolls", basically another form of machine.  9 comes to life, and meets the other "rag dolls", who cower in fear of the beast.  I don't want to give the entire plot away, but the rag dolls learn much that is human from the various difficulties that 9 causes …
review by . July 15, 2010
As a Tim Burton fan, I had high hopes for this adaptation of the short "9."  The style of animation and character design was intriguing, the marketing was exciting, and there was a good cast of well-known actors. Sadly, there isn't enough material for me to consider this a successful film.  There seems to be a clear lack of dialogue in the script, which could have made for a more compelling plot, but instead we are left with many of the characters just staring …
review by . November 01, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
With an award winning, Oscar nominated animator at its helm and the names of Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov attached, this movie was always going to have a lot of expectation surrounding it. Sadly, I felt it didn't quite live up to its potential. Although, that's not to say the film is a total letdown. Quite the opposite in fact. There's much to admire and enjoy here.      The design and animation work is extremely impressive; some of the best I've seen in any animated movie.  …
Quick Tip by . July 26, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A good allegory of the many facets of are humanity and how important they all are.
Quick Tip by . July 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
It's a shame that 9 didn't get the hype it deserved for the way it makes you think. The short run-time might be a hint as to why.
Quick Tip by . July 18, 2010
This film is not well known in the animated world, but everyone should give it a try. Its dark and edgy and just keeps you up throughout the whole sequence.
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About this movie


9 is a 2009 computer-animated science fantasy thriller film directed by Shane Acker and produced by Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov. The film starsElijah Wood, John C. Reilly, Jennifer Connelly, Crispin Glover, Martin Landau and Christopher Plummer It is based on Acker's Academy Award-nominated 2005 short film of the same name. The screenplay for the film was written by Pamela Pettler, with casting by Mindy Marin, production design by Robert St. Pierre and Fred Warter, and art direction by Christophe Vacher.

Nine small rag dolls, stitched together from burlap and clock workings and lenses, are all that stands in the way of the world being overtaken by the Machines. Actually, as9begins, it looks like the Machines have already had their way with Earth: this is one of those post-apocalyptic landscapes without life, hope, or sunlight. Clearly9director Shane Acker is willing to make an animated film that doesn't soar with Disney colors or Pixar cheer--in fact, main characters are killed off before the movie's halfway through. Our hero is 9 (voiced by Elijah Wood), so dubbed for the number on his back; after awakening to very confused consciousness, he bumps into other puppet survivors, such as the imperious 1 (Christopher Plummer), the warrior-like 7 (Jennifer Connelly), and the one-eyed comic sidekick 5 (John C. Reilly). They do battle with the Machines in...
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Genre: Animation, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Release Date: September 9, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 1hr 19min
Studio: Universal Studios, Focus Features
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