From visionary filmmakers Tim Burton (The Nightmare Before Christmas) and Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) and Academy Award®-nominated director Shane Acker comes this visually stunning and original epic adventure. In the final days of humanity, a dedicated scientist gives the spark of life to nine of his creations. The world has turned into an unrecognizable landscape of machines and spare parts, but this group of nine finds that if they band together, their small community might just be able to change the course of history.
is a strange movie, not to say it’s a bad one but it’s
a movie that throws you right into it once the opening credits
rolled and having a protagonist with an outlook of a strange-looking
rag doll named '9' doesn’t help much either.
CG animated feature is based on the Oscar nominated short
from Shane Acker. The world that we known of has been destroyed
by machines, there isn’t a single human in sight in
this vast deserted land and it’s up to nine individual
dolls peculiarly named '1', '2', '3' and so forth to pick
up the broken pieces left by mankind and their maker, a brilliant
it’s Acker’s intention to put the audience right
in 9’s shoes. 9 (Elijah Wood) is a curious, innocent
character waiting to explore this apocalyptic world. Like
9, we anticipate the things to come and dozen questions swirling
around us for example, what actually caused the apocalypse?
What is that machinery round object inside 9’s body?
Who is that pessimistic leader called '1' (Christopher Plummer)
and that brave warrior '7' (Jennifer Connelly)?
Some of the answers pathetically are left
unanswered in this full-length also scribed by Acker. The
screenplay by Pamela Pettler fails to expand much on the original
short mostly with dialogue kept to the minimum. The only disappointment
I can think of is “9” lacks a more powerful way
of storytelling to engage the audience despite some lessons
on the virtues and behavior of human beings. The handling
of the so-called souls and talismans appear to be slightly
heavy-handed especially towards the end.
"9" manages to charm and surprise its way through
despite the above mentioned flaws. Depending on how you see
it, on one hand, it’s more than just a CG movie and
the other hand, a fascinating action piece that moves at a
breakneck pace with amazingly detailed CG graphics. You don’t
need to be a genius to know why Tim Burton took on a producer
role. On first look, the various protagonists look so Burtonesqe
that you can’t tell much difference comparing 9 with
Burton’s other off-beat, creepy visual fests such as
The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride.
Though not particularly memorable, the voicework
feature an impressive cast including Elijah Wood, Jennifer
Connelly, John C. Reilly, Crispin Glover and veterans such
as Christopher Plummer, Martin Landau.
to the man who spent at least four years of his time fine-tuning
his rag dolls, Shane Acker indeed makes an extraordinary debut
with "9". While he has sort of established himself
as quite a remarkable visual craftsman, he just needs to focus
harder on his storytelling next time.
9: The Long and Short Of It – Join
Shane Acker as he elaborates on the journey of bringing his
original short to the feature-length movie in this 16 minutes
Look of 9 – This 13 minutes segment delves
into the stunning design work of 9.
Out – The animation team behind 9 discusses
about ‘acting out’ the various characters.
The Original Short (With Commentary by Shane Acker and Joe
Ksander) – Take a look at the original short
which won the hearts of producers Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov
including optional commentary from the director and animation
Commentary with Writer/Director Shane Acker, Animation Director
Joe Ksander, Head Of Story Ryan O'Loughlin and Editor Nick
Kenway – Listen to this track and you can realize
how passionate Shane Acker and the rest of the guys are in
the animation field and the overall production aspects of
Scenes – Given the short running time, these
5 deleted scenes could have been included in the final version
but here they are in their unpolished forms.
picture graphics are marvelous and rich to look at despite
the gritty post world-war II landscapes and constant dull
shades in this DVD. The Dolby Digital 5.1 makes good use of
the surround effects especially during the action sequences
though the dialogues are slightly on the soft side.
by Linus Tee
on 2 February 2010