Wednesday, September 23, 2009

9 (Review)

     Produced by Tim Burton (and, yes, you can tell Tim Burton was involved) and based on writer/director Shane Acker's short film by the same name, "9" is a visually stunning, post apocalyptic animated tale about odd, little rag dolls which are the last hope of humanity. 

     Fair warning.  Just because this is an animated film and the main characters are small, doll like things, this movie is rated PG-13 for a reason.  It occurs shortly after the fall of mankind.  There is ruin everywhere, some dead bodies, (nothing really graphic) and some skeletal remains.  Don't bring younger or easily frightened children. 

     That having been said, "9" is, as I said, visually stunning, action packed, and exceptionally well done.  Acker pulls off a fast paced, yet enjoyable and engaging, story about death, hope, and the triumph, quite literally, of the human spirit. Voice talents include Christopher Plummer, Martin Landau, John Reilly, Crispin Glover, Jennifer Connelly, and Elijah Wood as our title character, 9.  9 is a small, cloth skinned, creation/creature, brought to life by a scientist, near the end of a devastating war between humanity and machines.  It doesn't take 9 long before he is running for his life, pursued by something that seems to be part machine and part cat skull and aided by 5, one of the 8 other creations/creatures that seem to be the only things life alive.  Each one of these numbered creations seem to have an innate role, including an almost insane 6 who seems to resemble Tim Burton a bit.  9 seems driven to find and rescue 2, who was captured by the afore mentioned cat/machine/monstrosity shorty before 5 found 9.

     From there, the story unfolds quite quickly, all without feeling rushed and while keeping the plot evolving.  The story is simple enough for younger viewers to understand and contains enough subtly embedded meaning and metaphor (like the cathedral-esque factory where the machines are made, the fictional, Nazi-like state that created the machines and used them for conquest, and the best-ever use of a Judy Garland song to foreshadow oncoming doom) to keep adult viewers paying attention.  On top of that, the action is paced very well and keeps you in suspense (nail biting, really) throughout the action scenes.  The ending may seem a bit, confusing or even anti climatic to some, but I, personally, was satisfied with the thought that, one so many levels, live goes on.

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