September 11, 2009 9
Studio: Focus Features Rating: PG-13 for violence and scary images.
In a world where man no longer exists, a small number of his creations fight to survive a never-ending battle against murderous machines.
In the animated film "9" director Shane Acker has created something which has a new visual look. It's striking and unlike just about anything you've seen before.
Unfortunately, the story it's illustrating is all too familiar.
"9" is based in a post-apocalyptic world. The title character is a rag doll. When he awakens at the beginning of the film, 9 slowly discovers all humans are gone. He soon finds there are are others like him, but evil machines are hunting them down, intent on wiping them out of existence.
After a tragic mistake which makes the situation much, much worse, 9 must convice the others that hiding isn't the answer and that they must fight for their survival. Soon, we find out why the machines do what they do and the importance of battling them for control of the planet.
"9" has plenty of pretty pictures. The action sequences are put together really well and the computer animation is spectacular.
But the story is extremely thin. Even a short running time can't hide the fact that there isn't a whole lot holding this movie together. You'll find yourself asking a lot of questions which really don't have any answers. Why did the scientist decide to animate such small creatures? What is there true purpose? How will they save a world in which there doesn't seem like there's very much to save? Good luck in figuring any of that out.
A top-notch voice cast does help. Elijah Wood stars as 9. He's joined by Christopher Plummer, Martin Landau, John C. Reilly, Crispin Glover and Jennifer Connelly. The problem is they just don't have much to say.
This project began as a short film. Acker created the premise while still in college. You can tell he just couldn't come up with enough substance to fill a longer running time.
And while this is animated, it's probably not for all children, especially young ones.
It's intense and violent so pay attention to the rating and how your child has dealt with similar movies. You might need to wait until they're a little older.
On my rating scale, "9" earns a DOUBLE, mainly on the strength of its pictures.
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