Tuesday, September 22, 2009

9 (***)

9. 89 mins. PG-13. Directed by Shane Acker. Written by Pamela Pettler. Starring the voices of Elijah Wood, Jennifer Connelly, John C. Reilly, Martin Landau, and Christopher Plummer.

9 is a decidedly adult animated movie that, though thrilling to look at sometimes, is hampered by a bare-bones story and lazy voice work from the actors. It tells the tale of a post-apocalyptic future, where mechanical burlap sack creations are left to fend for themselves against evil robots. The human race is extinct and all hope is lost. When the main character, 9, finds a mysterious bottle cap and sets off a whole new wave of evil robots, it's up to him and his other lower-numbered burlap sack buddies to stay alive and bring the robots down. The movie is based on a short animated film from director Shane Acker, and though I haven't seen it, I understand that there is no dialogue in the short. I think the movie would have been better served by the same tactic. The dialogue here is clunky and only serves to distract from some amazing visuals. I like the world Acker and his crew have created, and the movie's tone strikes appropriate notes of darkness and depression. Overall, I appreciated the imagination that went into making 9, even though I wasn't totally enamored by the end result.

- John


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