21
Sep
09

Movie Review: 9

nine

 

Burlap sack guys vs. The Machine

Starring the voices of Elijah Wood, Christopher Plummer, John C. Reilly, Jennifer Connelly, and Martin Landau. Story and direction by Shane Acker

In this post-apocalyptic animated movie, “9” (Wood) wakes alone in a house. Without the ability to speak or understand who/what he is, he ventures out into a world that looks like it’s been to hell and back. As his curiosity leads him around he’s discovered by “2,” (Landau) another of his kind. After “2” is taken by a robot dog he makes it to a church which is the sanctuary for others of his kind: “5,” (Reilly) a tinkerer who was best friends with “2;” “1,” (Plummer) the leader of the group; and “8,” (Fred Tatasciore) a big, brawny “protector.”

“9” hatches a plan with “5,” to rescue “2.” In the process they run into “7,” (Connelly) a revolutionary heroine and “3 and 4,” twins who catalog and replay information they collect. When “9,” unknowingly awakes the Machine the situation becomes dire and now the group of creations must fight for the lives.

That’s as much as I’ll say about the movie. It’s difficult to love this type of movie because, let’s face it, the post-apocalyptic world isn’t easy to love. The idea that Man creates Machines that turn against him and inevitably destroy him isn’t exactly cheery. It may happen. Our vision of the future has changed from “Things to Come,” to “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” and we’ve all become complacent and are just waiting for it to happen.

But let me get back to the movie. Overall, I liked it. It didn’t feel so much “kid”-oriented as it was an animated movie for adults. That’s not to say that children couldn’t watch the movie but post-apocalyptic allegory is a bit much for anyone under the age of 10. I remember when “The Black Cauldron” was looked down upon because the main character had self-esteem issues.

What the movie does have going for it is a solid story. Sure, there are things that are overlooked (e.g. how a character learns to speak) but that doesn’t get into the way of a story about a scientist’s redemption for creating a Machine that became mis-used by the military and turned against mankind. It unravels as a mystery and when you finally understand what happened to society you see why this rag-tag group has to survive.

The message that comes from the film is this: intellect is no replacement for the human soul. Each of the nine creations is a part of the scientist’s soul. His intellect is the heart, and brain, of The Machine. In the end it’s cold calculation versus the want to survive.

Should you go see this? While I was impressed with some of the technology and it is a well-made story (with a few fantastical elements) I have to say this one may be a rental. Animated movies are generally kid-fare (save “American Pop,” “Heavy Metal” or the like) but I’m not sure I would make a kid under 10 watch this because they may get bored or upset with the beginning visuals of rusted and decayed vehicles and buildings or dead people. Just my thoughts.

My grade: A-

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