Theatrical Review: 9

In a post-apocalyptic setting, the future for any sort of life rests in the hands of 9 little burlap bag-covered robotic creatures…

That’s all I’m going to say about a synopsis to the new animated movie 9 from director Shane Acker and producers Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov (I expect most reading this know who Tim Burton is, but for those who don’t know Timur Bekmambetov, he directed the movies Nightwatch and Daywatch and most recently directed Wanted) a very imaginative dark fable that was originally a short film and is now adapted to a feature, though a very short feature weighing in at about 80 minutes. For a video gamer, you might almost think of this as a Fallout 3 fairy tale.

It’s a really stunning looking film, with a terrific art style and given “life” with state of the art computer animation, that’s the really obvious side of things. It’s story though, asks you to bring something to the table on this, and I never think that’s a bad thing for a movie to do at all. I’ve been reading some of the comments for this on IMDB, and reading lots of complaints of plot holes, lack of character development and just not having everything explained to you, and I don’t know, but I just didn’t see that at all and didn’t feel the need to even question these things at it’s end. I thought there was enough there that you could fill in your own blanks as to what happened, the characters of the little robots are indeed somewhat two-dimensional, but there’s a good reason for this (and yet I thought they were still way more human than what you’d see in a Transformers or G.I. Joe), and I actually gave a damn about the little guys…

Sometimes I have to wonder that if 2001: A Space Odyssey came out today would it even stand a chance with that kind of mentality…

But still, I thought this was very good with very nice visuals, a lot of great ideas, and a very good vocal cast including Elijah Wood, John C. Reilly, Christopher Plummer, Martin Landau and Jennifer Connelly, all giving life to the little hopes for the future. It’s certainly nothing like what you’re used to seeing from most of today’s computer animated films and I give Shane Acker credit for not telling you absolutely every little detail to how this world came to be… it adds to the fable/fairy tale quality of the film and if you don’t mind filling in the blanks on your own a bit (and it doesn’t really take that much to do it).

I really enjoyed the hell out of it, and would just love to see more animated movies taking chances in these type of directions. For those that are parents looking to take their children to this, well 9 may not be the movie for them as it is very dark and disturbing in it’s own way, though at the theatre that I saw this at, there were some children there, and as I the credits rolled, from what I could hear in the background, they really enjoyed themselves… I know I did too…

About Darren Goodhart

Darren Goodhart is a 44-year old St. Louis-based Graphic Designer and Illustrator (and former comic book artist) who's been seeing movies all his life, but on an almost weekly basis in theatres for the last 20 years and owns nearly 1,000 DVDs for his home theatre. He's learned a lot about film over the 20 year period, and has taken his appreciation beyond the mainstream. His favorite types of film are mostly genre entertainment, but he also enjoys a wide range of drama, action and cult-y stuff from around the world, and is currently re-discovering a love affair with lower budget exploitation and genre films from the 70s and early 80s. He doesn't try to just dismiss any film, but if there's a bias against one, he'll certainly tell you that in the space of his reviews.

12. September 2009 by Darren Goodhart
Categories: Text Reviews, Theatrical Review | Leave a comment

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