Friday, November 20, 2009

9: Movie Review

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows meets War of the Worlds and Terminator Salvation in this animated sci-fi thriller directed by CG animator Shane Acker and produced by Tim Burton. Diabolic machines and poisonous gas have annihalated the human race as we know it. The only inhabitants of this post-apocalyptic no-where are a group of nine anthropomorphic rag dolls who are the last fragments of humanity. Elijah Wood is the voice of 9, the last of his creation, who is destined to destroy the Fabrication Machine, literally the brain child of a brilliant scientist that went out of control when usurped by the military as a weapon of war. During his mission, 9 is joined by an eclectic group of characters - 3 and 4, a pair of mute scholars, 2 (Martin Lindau), an inventor, 5 (John C. Reilly), a healer, 6 (Crispin Glover) a prophesier, 7 (Jennifer Connelly), a fearless warrior, 8 (Fred Tatisciore), a bubble-headed brawn, and 1 (Christopher Plummer), the group's stubborn, dictatorial leader.

Shane Acker's credits as a CG animator for the big screen began in 2003 with The Return of the King, the third installment in The Lord of the Rings franchise. Two years later, Acker wrote, directed, and designed 9, an 11-minute short film, as a student project. Director Tim Burton was so impressed with Acker's talent that he decided to produce a feature length film, which would embrace the philosophy of human misguidedness on the field of technological advances. While a brilliant concept, the film's plot fails to utilize the ideology to its full potential, though it does hint at other philosophical themes: 9's lamp can be interpreted as a reference to the Greek philosopher Diogenes. Acker's strength, however, does not lie in the storyline, but in his imagery. Before the final showdown with the Fabrication Machine (which is less thrilling than the other scenes), the group must do battle with the minions it created out of its own vast knowledge, making way for the fast paced action that is the highlight of the entire film. Viewers with a profound appreciation for the philosophy of human degeneration will enjoy this film. Otherwise, it is not worth the admission ticket.

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