Genre: CG Animation
Director: Shane Acker
Cast: Elijah Wood, John C. Reilly, Jennifer Connelly, Martin Landau, Christopher Plummer, Crispin Glover
RunTime: 1 hr 19 mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: PG (Some Violence)
Official Website: http://9themovie.com/
Opening Day: 9 September 2009
new era in animated storytelling begins on 9.9.09. Visionary
filmmakers Tim Burton ("The Corpse Bride," "Charlie and the
Chocolate Factory") and Timur Bekmambetov ("Wanted," "Nightwatch")
join forces to produce wunderkind director Shane Acker's distinctively
original and thrilling tale. "9" stars Elijah Wood, John C.
Reilly, Jennifer Connelly, Martin Landau, Christopher Plummer
and Crispin Glover and features the music of Danny Elfman.
When 9 ("The Lord of the Ring's" Elijah Wood) first comes
to life, he finds himself in a post-apocalyptic world. All
humans are gone, and it is only by chance that he discovers
a small community of others like him taking refuge from fearsome
machines that roam the earth intent on their extinction. Despite
being the neophyte of the group, 9 convinces the others that
hiding will do them no good. They must take the offensive
if they are to survive, and they must discover why the machines
want to destroy them in the first place. As they'll soon come
to learn, the very future of civilization may depend on them.
From the trailer, there was this quote stating "We
had such potential. Such promise. But we squandered our gifts"
and ironically, that quote pretty much sum up the afterthoughts
for 9. A tale with so much potential and so many intriguing
characters in it but ultimately, the movie failed to utilize
them to it’s full potential.
On one hand, it had an intriguing premise of a doomsday aftermath’s
scenario which an inquisitive viewer would be interested to
know what happened and why are these 9 characters the intended
saviors. While it poised interesting question and some interesting
revelations, the story on the whole was a letdown by it’s
patchy storytelling and the story felt short changed.
The connectivity of the story arcs felt rather uneven and
connection between scenes were either speeded up or left missing.
The lead up to the climatic rescue scene had us scratching
our heads on why and how did a rescue plan was formulated.
Things just conveniently fall together for our heroes and
it didn’t felt like our heroes went through too much
difficulties or struggle.
There were also elements on the determent of technology advancement
that was hinted in the movie but left largely unexplored.
The movie also poised interesting questions such as the conflicts
between intellectual manipulation and morality struggle but
as again, it was far too short to be satisfying.
There were also much potential and ambition in having 9 characters
to play with in a directorial debut but this movie proved
that juggling 9 different characters in a movie is a rather
difficult task. While the characters are clearly defined with
their individual quirky design and mannerism, the movie (ironically)
failed to install much “souls” into these characters.
Even the voice artist did a great job in bringing them to
life, the story lacks the ability to endear these characters
to the audience. In the end, these characters looked nice
but ultimately hollow that it’s hate to feel anything
for them when calamity befall these characters.
All these missing ingredients seems to points out that 9’s
short running time might not have been ideal to tell a story
with such potential epic premise. There are quite a few elements
that could have been explored in details and characters could
have given more depth for the audience to grow fond of them.
Even some dramatic moments that occurred in 9 could have been
dragged out longer for the viewers to get a grip of tragic
events that occurs.
However all is not lost on 9. There are exhilarating action
sequences and wildly imaginative creatures that are beautiful
to look at. Base on just the two aspects mention above, it’s
not hard to see why Timur Bekmambetov (of Nightwatch and Daywatch
fame) and Tim Burton (Corpse Bride and upcoming Alice in Wonderland)
would support director Shane Acker’s first feature length
9 is visually spectacular and there’s much potential
in it’s original quirky and intriguing premises. However,
it floundered at it’s execution bits and there’s
simply not enough time to build the characters and story up
(Visually spectacular and quirky with an original
and intriguing premises but ultimately, there’s not
enough time to build the characters and story up properly)
Review by Richard Lim Jr