9 (2009) – Movie Review
Posted by virtuallyreel on September 11, 2009
Voices – Christopher Plummer, Martin Landau, John C. Reilly, Crispin Glover, Jennifer Connelly, Fred Tatasciore, Elijah Wood, Alan Oppenheimer, Tom Kane, Helen Wilson
Direction – Shane Acker.
I saw the film on the first day itself only because I wanted to see 9 on 9-9-09. I don’t know whether it was a paid preview or it actually got released everywhere on 9-9-09, because the poster says the release date is 9-9-09 whereas the multiplex said it to be a paid preview. The theatre was occupied by 4 people including me and had there been one person less; the show would have been cancelled. So in a way I was lucky to catch up with the movie but was disappointed that the film isn’t so well publicized in India and it may go unnoticed in India.
Being a fan of animated films and of Tim Burton, I expected a lot from the movie. Also I had enjoyed the short film ‘9’ by the same director on the same plot. The short film is available on YouTube. However, for convenience, I am posting the video over here –
9 is a film about a genius who invented a machine which was used in a wrong way despite the warnings given by the inventor of the damage the machine could do. The machine eventually becomes the reason to end the existence of human life on earth. Knowing the problems this machine can cause to mankind, the inventor creates 9 creatures of size almost twice a matchstick. They actually are soul of the inventor. So basically 9 is all about how these 9 sack bag like creatures destroy the dangerous machine which resulted in the extinction of any normal living creature on earth and the love and affection these 9 creatures have among themselves. There is the Clock Tower in the movie which shows the time 09:09. I don’t know whether the time showed the time when the human life ended on earth or the start of new mission by these 9 creatures to destroy the machine. The point wasn’t very clear to me.
Although the group of these 9 creatures, are led by the character ‘1’, the film’s lead hero is ‘9’, who unaware of the consequences, activates the dangerous machine in a rescue mission to save character ‘2’. Although they destroy a smaller machine (short film’s main villain) in the rescue mission, character ‘9’ manages to activate an even more dangerous machine. You can call it as the father of all machines.
Though the film is packed with lots of entertainment, the director doesn’t go too much deep and doesn’t experiment on a bigger scale which he could have done. For a person who already has seen Tim Burton’s film, and the short film ‘9’ by Shane Acker, this hardly offers anything new.
The film bears huge resemblance to The Lord of The Rings Trilogy and the director obviously for the very same reason referenced that trilogy in the film by showing the Three Towers in reference to the Two Towers in The Lord of The Rings Trilogy. It also bears a resemblance to Aliens. The treatment of the film is very much Burtonesque though.
The screenplay of the film deserves applause for making a brilliant non-linear structure and narrating the events so well without confusing the audience. The background score and the music too are very great.
Animation in this film is simply outstanding. It is very much like Burton’s other films and Acker’s short film bearing the same title and subject. It’s very good to see different production houses coming up with different kinds of animation. Butrton has his own style, Pixar have their own, Dreamworks have their own, Ardaman (Wallace and Gromit series) have their own. Even the 2D animation is still alive, thanks to Cartoon Network.
Overall, I wouldn’t call this film to be the best among the other animated films, nor was it better than the short film ‘9’. But still it’s very much entertaining. A tighter screenplay would surely have helped it more.
7/10. I give the short film a perfect 10/10 though.