9 (2009) Poster

(I) (2009)

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6/10
9 is a 6
captelephant10 September 2009
9 is better than average... but only barely.

The movie is carried by a unique visual style and a great sense of "place." The sack-men (and woman) are refreshingly odd and fun to watch. The post-apocalyptic city is consistently beautiful and dangerous. Desolate without feeling dull.

Unfortunately, the story and characters ARE dull. Not crushingly so... but enough to frustrate. Frequent, obvious plot holes and violations of established world-rules pulled me out of the movie over and over again. Tired clichés abound. I wasn't able to shake the feeling that I'd seen and heard this all before.

And that's a shame because there's a lot of potential here. If only the writer had taken more chances. Why not challenge the audience and defy expectations? Why make a movie that's too scary for kids but too simplistic for adults? Who is expected to enjoy it?

I would watch another Shane Acker movie if one is made (hopefully after he's picked a target audience). But 9 is not a classic.

... that said, it's probably worth watching on the big screen just for the sights and sounds.
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9/10
A much darker "Wall-e", and that's a good thing.
kirk-24627 December 2009
9 is a rag-doll who wakes up after a war between humans and machines that has devastated the world and wiped out humanity.He later meets a group of surviving rag-dolls and he tries to convince them to save 2.9 and 5 go to save 2, but they accidentally awaken a machine known as Brain.After they escape the dreaded machine, Brain hatches a scheme to build machines and hunt down the remaining rag-doll survivors.

"9" is like a combination of "The Terminator", "War Of The Worlds", and "Wall-e".With the war, machines, and apocalypse, there's no way you can disagree with that.The PG-13 rating is most certainly deserved.Afterall, the imagery is a bit frightening and will have young kids begging for their parents to take them to see "Wall-e" so they can get all of the disturbing images out of their minds once and for all.As for the movie, I can't say that I was disappointed.With it's spectacular visuals, great action sequences, and convincing characters, "9" is a must-see for those who want to take a visually thrilling roller-coaster.Clocking in at a brief 79 minutes( 72 minutes if you take out the end credits), "9" will take your imagination and put it into a world that will make you want for a sequel.We all know what the title would be, so I don't need to go any further."9" deserves a 9.
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9/10
A visual banquet
Juliet Staveley12 December 2009
As a long-time fan of animation, I like to believe (misguided or not) that I have high standards and am not easily impressed. But this creation blew me away, so much so that I felt compelled to write my first ever review on this site. Please forgive me for the abundance of clichés that may follow.

9 reminded me strongly of my favourite short-work, Joacquin Baldwin's award-winning Sebastian's Voodoo. The detail, backgrounds, colours, forms, the dark 'grubbiness' of the overall look, the minimal but meaningful character expressions and sublime use of light and shadow were pure heaven for the eyes.

Imagine, if you will, a strange but beautiful lovechild of The Borrowers, Voodoo, Alien, Corpse Bride and War of the Worlds; and you have 9.

The atmospheric score and use of imagery from various real political movements and historic events added to the post-apocalyptic, almost Gothic feel. To prevent it from becoming too heavy, it is interwoven with a deliciously subtle humour and creativity - such as the use of ordinary household objects as weapons and items of clothing. You can tell that Tim Burton had more than a sprinkling of input.

Yes, the storyline is simple (which is why I am puzzled that so many viewers found the ending difficult to grasp) and the characters could have done with more development. That said, I immediately fell in love with 2, 4 and 5 with no knowledge of their past - a difficult task to achieve. And it would be hard to create nine full-blooded personalities with back-history involved in a complex plot in only 80 minutes.

Which brings me to timing and the only reason I knocked a star off - I felt it ended too quickly and I just did not want it to.

It is a rare sort of exquisite film-making that makes you want to serve it on a plate and eat it raw, enjoying every last mouthful. Then savour it all over again because you know you've missed so much in all the glorious detail.

It is a film that stays with you long after it ends. I would urge anyone with a love of the unusual to experience it.
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10/10
Imagination at it's finest!
jawbreaker189 September 2009
I come from the school of early Tim Burton, and Jim Henson- two of my cinema deities from my earliest memories- and this is the first time in a long time that anyone has managed to touch on that magic for me.

I'll do my best to convey what a fantastic movie this is, without really revealing too much of the plot- because I think that this movie is best experienced not really knowing anything. You come in the same way the main character does- not knowing anything of this world.

While sitting in the theater, I recalled memories of the intensity and heart of "my first movies" such as E.T., The Secret of Nymh, The Dark Crystal, and Edward Scissorhands- movies that touched upon something that was at once so rooted in human emotion yet so fantastic and unimaginable. I can absolutely say that "9" is now considered one in that catalog of visionary and hallowed movies.

Guaranteed some will have a complaint with the length (a seemingly short 79 minutes considering the scale and impact of the story) but I think that a movie can be an epic without needing to be over 2 hours long, or a HUGE amount of unnecessary back story and origins that's only purpose is to make the story SEEM grandiose. This movie is a complete work of art- from the obviously eye-catching visual style and composition of what you see, down to the basic story and character development that you feel. In 79 minutes this team managed to harness my imagination and senses without having to dumb-it-down for the audience, or use any of the old gags that many bigger studios seem to rely on to sell tickets (thankfully there are NO cheesy gross out jokes to appeal to a typical cable-fed attention span). Instead they took me to places that I had never thought of, but will never forget. My most respectful nod to everyone involved.

Absolutely do not miss this one.
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10/10
Absolutely refreshing
SeanDTheFilmMaker9 September 2009
Man I got to tell ya it is so nice to see something different that has the intensity of a mature movie yet lies within the realm of the animated world. Every scene was beautifully done and you can literally hang every frame up on a wall if you so choose to. The story was great, the suspense was amazing. Who ever complained about it not having a story, tell that to the crowd I saw jumping every so often from the intense confrontations. What I also liked about it was the hidden parts of the story. They give you enough information to enjoy the film but yet you can extract more of the back ground thought that went into what we saw in the completed film. For the first time ever I saw half of the audience stay behind after the credits role to not just see who worked on the movie but to debate back and forth about what they thought of it, what the characters represented, what happen in this or that scene, and of course the animation style and technique and how it moved them. Never seen anyone ever do that after watching a movie.
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7/10
Well, the animation was great...
MartinHafer11 September 2009
I was looking forward to seeing 9, as I had already seen the original short film (also called 9) and wanted to see what they could do by expanding upon the story. Well, after seeing this full-length film, I can certainly say I liked the computer generated animation....as for the story, well, it left a bit to be desired. And the problem is that I can't strongly recommend the film, but if you don't see it in the theater, then you'll probably like the film less because the graphics are THE film.

The story is set in an alternate reality. While some of the features look very much like Earth, many of the details are different. There's been a war raging and tanks are definitely of the WWI variety while airplanes are of the WWII style--yet there are also very modern holograms as well. As for the leader, there is some similarity to a fascist dictatorship, but this guy sure ain't Hitler, Mussolini or Franco. It's like Earth, but not our Earth. Oddly, while I could accept this, in this alternate reality there apparently IS a Judy Garland and the song "Over the Rainbow"--an odd blending of the real and the fanciful.

Most of the story, you have no idea what led to this ruined world that is now devoid of all life--no animals, no people...not even bugs. Slowly, some of the details of this apocalypse come out...but never is there ever a full explanation as to what happened and why--just a dribbling of information here and there. What you positively know is that instead of living beings, there are a group of very small and oddly designed burlap covered dolls--with very high tech eyes. Why these dolls are there and their purpose is unknown to them, but some are just happy to hide and avoid the hellish mechanical creations that inhabit the rubble as well.

As for the burlap creatures, this is a shortcoming in the film. While 9 is the "designated hero", he and the rest of them really don't have any personality and a few of them seem like story clichés (such as the "strong and plucky female"). So, when one dies you are left wondering what made that one any different than the one that was killed moments earlier or you are left feeling a caricature died--not something tangible. No real character development occurs nor are their motivations particularly clear throughout the film. Nor, for that matter, does the story answer many questions at all. So, provided this doesn't bother you and you don't mind a vague story with vague characters, you'll enjoy the film very much--it certainly is a visual delight. If you demand clarity, then I suggest you see another film.
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10/10
think if Don Bluth were forced to make a 'post-apocalypse' CGI movie... and it's *better*
MisterWhiplash9 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Shane Acker has a good career ahead of him. At the least, one can only hope so. His talents expressed here, his first feature adapted from his short film of the same title, are immense and sharp and clear and dark and staggering and other words I didn't have time to look up for this review. He takes a scenario one could be familiar with- entities battling robotic elements in a future or just another time period, a desolate wasteland, a possibility of hope on the horizon- but it's infused with the passion and archetypes of a fairy tale. And even with this there's certain twists, or unexpected pleasures. You'll see a lot of critics talk about the lack of a full story, of the beauty of the animation and look of the film outweighing any kind of story or clearly defined characters. You can take that to heart before seeing the film, but a lot of them may have missed Acker's intention here.

These are some archetypes on screen, sure. And one may have seen them in films made by the likes of Don Bluth with the Secret of NIMH or, dare I compare, Henson/Ozs' the Dark Crystal (here the latter's object of purpose is reversed, sort of). But the characters in 9, the ones with personalities, are not complete. The idea in the film is that all of the characters, all numbered from 1 to 9 and called as such, are little robotic creations given life by parts of the soul of a scientist who gave himself up for his creations. Others he made, a 'machine' for it, was also imperfect - so much so that it turned against its creators and did what giant gorram robots do when created with human's own defects. So the characters may appear to be things we very simply identify- hero guy, hero girl, slight comic-relief twins, and the grumpy and ornery older one (#1)- and as it goes on the characters simply are what they are... actually, 1 develops a little more, and in a subtle, captivating way.

But if you're going to see an animated film this year for its distinctive style and design and (yes) cinematography and creations and colors out of the netherworld of a glorious imagination - and it's not from John Lasseter's Disney or Pixar - it's 9. And damn the torpedoes is this movie beautifully wretched to look at! One can see why Tim Burton and Wanted's Timur Bekmambetov latched on to Acker and helped him get the movie made as it is: it's a world like Terminator Salvation, only if it had actual focus and a capacity to elicit a terror in its audience (young or old). The little robots themselves are cute in a rough way, and the robots - and specifically what they do to one of the critters when they capture one of them by sucking out their souls - move and react like inhuman things that do what they should and look and feel like the world really has ended. You simply can't take your eyes off the movie, and it's animated with such an eye for original detail.

At the same time it doesn't aim directly at adults, albeit with a PG-13 rating. I can imagine, or at least would hope to, that a child watching this and being bewildered and confused and mortified and entranced, just as I was watching NIMH or Crystal, and that's a good thing. PIXAR has its wonders, but to see this is to see the A-game upped another notch in the medium and its potential. There are times I didn't even feel like I was watching just animation. Other times, I was taken away like any good fantasy or fable: in the one little moment of respite, 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' plays on a record and there's peace... until it's broken. It's rare a filmmaker can conjure something like that, but 9 has that in spades.
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9/10
Multiple viewings strongly suggested
anna_desu14 September 2009
Much like Shane Acker's short (of the same name), this movie almost REQUIRES multiple viewings for the viewer to really soak everything in.

The first time I watched the film, my initial criticisms were "That was too short" and "There wasn't not enough emphasis on characters/story". However, after watching the movie a second time, I realized that I had missed a TON of information on my first round. Upon asking other friends what they thought about the movie the second time around, I discovered that they felt the same way.

The first time I watched the film, I felt like everything flew by. It was visual overload, and it just had bad pacing overall. However, on my second viewing of the movie, I noticed that things seemed to go by much, much slower. The pacing seemed better. I noticed character and plot subtleties that I simply did not catch the first time I watched it. I connected more with the stitchpunks, and I understood the story better. The visuals weren't just "Ohhh, pretty!" anymore, they had greater symbolism, and depth.

The movie is, indeed, about 20 minutes too short. Certain characters needed more screen time, and certain points in the plot needed more emphasis. HOWEVER, I found that I enjoyed the movie drastically more when I saw it a second time. I plan on seeing it a third time later this week.

This movie reveals new surprises every time you watch it. If you have seen it once already, and didn't think it was that great, I strongly suggest dropping the $8 and giving this movie a second chance. You may be surprised how much your opinion changes.
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5/10
Once again, form over function
sketchball904 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I might have had my expectations too high when I walked into the theater. I hadn't done any reading and was under the impression that Tim Burton had directed it. So when it became obvious 5 minutes into the movie that once again I was going to be subjected to big budget stylistic environments and effects sans any kind of real mental engagement, I was pretty disappointed.

There were so many problems with this movie I don't really know where to begin without rambling. So instead I'll just say that the "good" is all about the visuals. The "bad" is all about my issues with plot and character development, audience education, cheesy dialog and unambiguous morality in circumstances that should force compromise at every turn. Being any more specific would result in a hideously long post, so here are my top 3 gripes:

  • The story advances too quickly early on for the sake of setting up the second half of the movie. It left me with an empty feeling akin to throwing away dinner so you can have dessert.


  • At the core of our protagonists identities is the idea of a multifaceted human soul (i.e. aspects of our personalities captured in discrete pieces of our immortal selves). Unfortunately, almost no time is devoted to explaining or developing this concept. It's up to the viewer to decide if they care or not and why. Beyond the heavy handed symbolism of the church Stitchpunks vs the university Stitchpunks, there isn't much of a reason you have to. The idea felt like a convenient foil device instead of the meaningful linchpin it could have been.


  • The "successful" outcome of the movie is dependent on a wildly lucky string of events. There's no solid story here about bravery in the face of adversity, intelligent heroes, clever plot twists, and a few narrow escapes. Instead you get a chain of formulaic action scenes in which any of a few hundred close calls gone wrong prevents our happy ending. Give me an engaging story, not an account of winning the lottery 5 times in a row. See Secret of Nimh for a reasonably good animated noir counterexample.


Ultimately, I could probably sum up the mass of problems with "target audience confusion". On the surface, it seems aimed at a more mature set of folks (13 years +?) with its graphic wartime theme and truly creepy villains. The development of everything else and the simplistic dialog feels targeted at a younger audience. It probably could have worked well as either. Tone it down, keep it short and sweet for the 9 year old set or lengthen it and spend more time on story, characters, etc for the older crowd. It fails in targeting both.
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8/10
Not Super, But A Decent Film With Good Animation
ccthemovieman-128 December 2010
I don't know how much of a market there is for animated films like this but as someone who appreciates good artwork and computer animation, I enjoyed it. Yeah, the story is only so-so but the characters keep your attention - both good and bad guys, and it is deceptively involving.

The "good guys" in here are burlap-looking sewn puppets. Why they are who they are is explained near the end of the movie. The "bad guys" are the machines. Yes, this is familiar "Terminator" country, theme-wise, but the machines in this movie are brutal and scary. This movie is definitely not for little kids!

If you keep your expectations in the "fair" range, and watch it on Blu-Ray, you should enjoy it. As mentioned, the story draws you in. On the other hand, if you are looking for something fantastic, you might be disappointed.
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8/10
Pretty cool movie
ersinkdotcom9 September 2009
The first time I heard about 9 and found out that Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov were co-producing it, I was absolutely on board to see it. Anything that the guy who directed such quirky masterpieces as Beetlejuice, Batman, Mars Attacks!, Ed Wood, and Sleepy Hollow got behind had to be worthy of my time. And then you add the genius of Russian director Timur Bekmambetov to the mix and to me it was a no brainer. I was going to see this movie. Burton AND the guy that has brought us such visually complex and action-packed fare as Wanted, Night Watch, and Day Watch supporting a movie? It had to be good.

And it was. Director Shane Acker borrows maybe a little more than he should have visually from other such apocalyptic films like Terminator and even Wall-E, but it doesn't end up hurting the film by any means. The scenery and landscapes of the film are beautifully crafted and set everything up for a certain feeling of loneliness and hopelessness. It's more graphic and suspenseful than any children's or youth feature you would take your kids to, so definitely don't let the fact that this is animated fool you. This is not for the little ones.

The voice actors all put their best foot forward and deliver. You've got Elijah Wood as 9, once again convincingly leading a group of survivors in what seems to be an unwinnable war against a much larger foe than they could be expected to defeat. You've got Christopher Plummer playing 1 as an interesting paranoid "keeper of the secrets" which reminded me of the Dr. Zaius character in the original Planet of the Apes films, if you've seen any of those. Legendary actor Martin Landau plays 2, who is a scientist and fixes 9. Then there's Jennifer Connelly, who plays the strong-willed and rebellious 7 who has left the core group of "stitchpunks" to get away from under all of 1's rules. Last but not least, you've got Crispin Glover playing the slightly obsessed and seemingly crazy 6 who has been drawing strange symbols since the big war between the humans and machines.

The film had an interesting plot that got a bit more complex in the end. Part of the complexity had a spiritual vibe to it that I didn't necessarily care for. It just seemed almost out of place and like the director was stretching for something that would make the film more "sophisticated." I was not disappointed in the movie by any means. It was a visually striking piece of film. It was action-packed and fun without dumbing down the story or sacrificing it. If you're into sci-fi, apocalyptic thrillers, and animation I would highly recommend this.
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7/10
A true great, if it had just chosen an audience!
tnt8080818 July 2010
First things first. DO NOT SHOW THIS MOVIE TO VERY YOUNG CHILDREN!! This is a very dark and often scary animation. I would recommend it as an 8 years and up movie, minimum!

And this is also this movies biggest problem. It just didn't pick a target market. It is neither cuddly enough for kids or smart enough for adults. Many reviewers have said how they were confused by the plot or that there didn't seem to be a reason for anything??? I found the opposite, this movie is very straight-forward, a little too so maybe. It is a simple tale of good versus evil in a post apocalyptic, alternative earth. (I fear the suits holding the money may have had something to do with the "dumbing down" of the story however and not the writers).

All this being said, it is beautiful to look at, with some fantastic set pieces and atmosphere and despite it's simple story, it is a sweet tale. The voice acting is solid (special mention goes to John C Riley for his ever-so-sweet portrayal of "5") and the action scenes are tense and well thought out. As I said earlier, the monsters in this really are quite creepy, even by grown-up standards, add to that the post-war setting and occasional images of (albeit CG) dead bodies/death and this really puts this movie out of the young kids film bracket.

"9" could have been so much more. In my opinion, it would have worked better as a grown-up animation with a slightly meatier script and the peril ramped up a little. As it is, it sits somewhat uncomfortably in limbo between kids and grown-ups, fully satisfying neither. Now, your thinking, "he gave this 7/10 and all he has done is complain!" well, it is a good movie and I did enjoy it a lot. It is haunting, thought provoking and beautifully animated and would have scored a 10/10 if it had just been written more towards older viewers.

A fantastic idea, lovingly animated. could have been a classic if it had just been a little braver in the writing phase.
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7/10
New view to a hackneyed storyline. Visually appealing though not very intellectually stimulating. Worth a watch.
ankurtg1 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
We've had a lot of the "man-machine battle in the future", and "the importance of human emotions". The movie beautifully presents a new angle to it, though probably not new enough to write home about.

Clichés abound throughout the movie--the music, and even the voice of 9 (Elijah Wood) sound trite (the latter possibly due to watching LotR movies dozens of times). The action, although enthralling, depends a lot on lucky close-shaves and a bit of the 'deus-ex-machina'. For most of the movie, I expected something powerfully epiphanous to occur, but the anticipation went unfulfilled.

The Animation and Special Effects are beautiful. The objects, settings and the 'image' (particularly the use of Low depth-of-focus) are reminiscent of the works of Brothers Quay, though this doesn't have any of that macabre quality.

Viewed thoughtfully in hindsight, the plot does have some substance. In this microcosm, the puppet-characters seem to be symbolic of individual human traits--covering a spectrum of black gray and white, which, in a complex way, comprise our 'soul'. There are many symbols and allegorical elements. An act of thoughtless curiosity (the activation of the machine) leads a people to disaster. Troubled folk seek sanctuary in an abandoned church, led by an orthodox, power-hungry figure. In the face of a full-fledged assault, the sanctuary burns down, and man is left to use his own wits to ensure his survival.

Because of being an isolated essence, each of these puppets seems to be a stereotype--this fact, if not appreciated, encourages the perception of the movie as being full of 'clichés'. Once it dawns, this realization vindicates the movie, albeit not completely.

While the movie leaves somewhat dissatisfied the mature and expectant viewer, it offers a fairly enjoyable experience to both the young and the old.
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5/10
Beautiful animation; undeveloped, incomplete story
paulglen11 September 2009
This movie feels like it starts in the middle. I don't instinctively identify with robot rag dolls. So, for most of the movie I didn't care much about what happened to them because their plight, purpose, and origin are not explained at all until the movie is almost over. At that point, I felt like "Oh, okay, if they had explained that in the FIRST 15 minutes of the movie, I might have cared what happens". But they didn't explain it, and I didn't care what happened.

I won't even go into the conclusion of the "story", except to say that it makes no sense at all and is riddled with holes and ambiguity.

Yes, the animation is very nice. Yes, there are some decent action scenes. Those are the strongest points of the movie. But, honestly, beyond the unique look and style of the artwork, it's the same stuff, the same action, that you see in every other animated movie. Ho hum.

Summary: nice animation, cliché action, underdeveloped plot, and very little story to pull the (over age 16) viewer in.
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3/10
good visually, poor characters and worse plot
imrational9 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
My thoughts on the movie, 9

It was not good, not good at all. Visually, it was great. I was pleased with the pacing, the camera angles, etc. However, the characters? eh, kinda bland. Plot? It sucked.

This movie seemed more new age crap than anything else. Organized religion is presented as cowardly and fearful. Science isn't portrayed any better. It creates a monster weapon that kills everything... but "souls" have the power to destroy monsters and bring life? Really?

That's something that bites my ass a bit too. Here we have a CGI movie... created with science... and they're using it to give us the message that science will destroy the world while promoting the idea that spirituality will save us? At least they had the decency to have one of the characters ask,

"Okay, so now what?" (or something similar). I couldn't hear it too well because of the crowd immediately getting up and making a break for the exit. It was a "okay... it was just barely entertaining enough to sit here for the entire movie but now let's get out of here as fast as possible!" type of exit.

This is one of those movies where you can't think if you want to enjoy it. Just look at the visuals and nod your head prettily. Any thought as to, "what's the point of that?" will suck you out of disbelief and make you eye the exit sign with longing.

Okay... SPOILERS follow.

So, basically, a scientist creates "the Machine" that is capable of creating other, intelligent, robotic life. Evil humans use it as a weapon. However, the scientist realizes that he is also at fault. He gave the Machine his intellect, but didn't give it his heart.

The Machine goes Skynet on humanity's collective ass and wipes out all life on earth, finally slowly powering down. However, the scientist manages to survive and create walking sock-puppets. Each one, containing a piece of the scientist's soul.

The last one, #9 wakes up not knowing anything about the world. He sees a strange device nearby and picks it up. He meets up with another like himself, #2.

Well, #2 gets captured by a last surviving robot of the Machine. #9 finds more like himself ands sets off to rescue #2.

They succeed.

#9 notices that there is a matching hole that fits the device perfectly. He inserts it and the Machine comes back to life... pulling out #2's soul in the process.

The movie then continues with action scenes with #9 trying to rescue his soul-yanked compatriots.

They eventually succeed and destroy the Machine. They release the souls of their fallen friends, who go up into the clouds. It then rains and we see life returning back to the planet.

Hunh?!?

That makes no sense. None at all. Why the heck did the scientist want to split his soul into 9 homunculi? What did it accomplish? Were they created to stop the machine? Everything is dead! The machine was dead! Why bother?!?

Why did he expect nine little critters to succeed when nothing else had? Why not create a second intellectual machine, but with a "soul" to fight the first.. at least that would have seemed like it would have had a reasonable chance at success.

Why did they have to have their souls sucked into the device by the Machine and then destroy the Machine and then release the souls in order to bring life back to earth? Why not just wait for the machine to power down and bring life back without all the rest of the insane steps?
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9/10
Criticizing This Film for Using Archetypes is Short-Sighted
dan-27549 January 2010
I was quite taken with '9', a movie I saw without reading the reviews here (which is not the usual sequence of things for me). I'm glad I didn't read the reviews this time, though, because too many of them seemed to me to be off point.

This is quite a didactic film with a decided moral and spiritual flavor from the opening scene to the beautifully crafted ending. It uses archetypes and plot lines that are more or less predictable and common. But it combines those elements with -- as most of the reviewers here have agreed -- wonderful visuals to create a sweeping story that is at least wonderful and borders on the magnificent. I was enchanted with the rag-doll characters from very early on and frankly don't get it when reviewers here say they couldn't identify with these touchingly and endearingly humanoid creatures. So much more empathetic than, say, Wall-E, of which it is only vaguely reminiscent.

The spiritual message in this movie is deeply interwoven and -- perhaps because it resonates with my own spiritual path -- I found it quite well done and sufficiently subtle that remarks to the contrary here seemed to me to derive more from disagreement with the spiritual philosophy than with its presence as a major component of the story.

I highly recommend this movie. It is entertaining and enlightening. The only thing that kept it from earning a very-hard-to-garner 10 from me was the overuse of violence in the late-middle portion when the denouement should be closer to the surface.
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7/10
7
Warning: Spoilers
I had high expectations of this, especially after seeing the original short by Shane Ackner of the same name, in which this movie was inspired. However, the results ends being just adequate.

These movies, despite being a small production, have an excellent animation and a great atmosphere: Shane Ackner creates a unique, fascinating, world. Also the whole cast make a great work with every single one of the characters. Too bad that the story was filled with a lot of silly, stupid clichés, that only ruin the interesting parts of the story: Here you have the "Chosen One" that have to save the world, the boring, invincible villain that never and the plain, one dimensional characters that only appear to be killed.

Despite that, I liked this film. Even when it is completely predictable, it still is very funny to watch, mostly because of the animation and the atmosphere. The character design was pretty good too. Even when "9" wasn't so good as films as "Coraline" it still a decent, entertaining film. But it could have been way better.
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6/10
Pieces of a Soul
Claudio Carvalho6 November 2009
After an apocalyptical war between human and machines, the world is completely destroyed and without human life. The burlap doll 9 awakes without voice and finds a weird object in the middle of the debris that he brings with him. While walking through the ruins, 9 is attacked by a machine called Beast but he is saved by another doll called 2 that fixes his voice. 2 brings 9 to meet his hidden community, leaded by the coward 1. When 2 is captured by a machine, the newcomer 9 convinces the other dolls to go with him to rescue 2. However, 9 places the device that he found in a slot and activates a lethal machine called Brain. The burlap dolls are chased by Brain and despite the advices of 1 that they should hide, 9 organizes an attack to destroy Brain.

I had a great expectation with "9" and the bleak animation is really great. Unfortunately the flawed and unoriginal story is disappointing, a kind of rip-off of "WALL•E" and "Terminator" together and there are many holes and questions without answer or explanation. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "9 – A Salvação" ("9 – The Salvation")
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10/10
Finally, an Animated film made in the USA for ADULTS
Jay Harris30 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
In 2006 a very promising writer,animator made a 10 minute short that was nominated for an Oscar. Noted film producer Tim Burton (among others) were so taken by by this artists 10 minute short. They decided to make a full length film. Pamela Pettler wrote the screenplay from Lee Ackers story. Mr. Acker directed this excellent 79 minute animated film, (this includes 7 minutes of credits)

As stated above this film is an adult film,it is way too mature for those under 13. The characters are all rag dolls, Using a theme & stylistic settings 'ala' H.G. Wells-- THINGS TO COME.we have a somewhat somber & at times scary tale.

The characters are voiced by (among others) Elijah Wood, Christopher Plummer,Martin Landau, Jennifer Connelly.

There is very little humor in the film,Thankfully so. The only song is a few lines from Over The Rainbow sung by Judy Garland.

This is to me is one of the better animated film I have ever seen.

Ratings: **** (out of 4) 98 points (out of 100) IMDb 10 (out of 10)
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5/10
Gorgeously dark, steampunkish, dystopian visuals marred by a dumbfoundingly nonsensical story
Cinemadharma10 September 2009
Gorgeously dark, steampunkish, dystopian visuals along with an agreeable allegorical message, are marred by a story that makes so little sense it will make your head spin.

The main problem with the film can be boiled down to its story, which, to directly quote my brother's review: "at 79 Minutes, it was either 70 minutes too long or 1 hour too short". And given the fact that this film began as an 11 minute Oscar nominated short, this makes perfect sense. I won't go into the details here of why almost nothing in the film made sense, because it would require me to 'spoil' the movie. But if you see the film and by some miracle you are able to make logical sense of the story details, please get back to me, and then after we determine how high you were when you saw it, we'll debate it.

It's really too bad. The animation and general creative vision really is stunning. And for me, the film carries a message I am totally on board with. On the top level, it is essentially an allegory about the harnessing of atomic energy and how it promised progress and benefit to humankind, but also has resulted in weapons of unimaginable destruction. Further, it can be said that this can be applied to much of the 'progress' in science and technology in the 20th and 21st centuries. Discoveries and advances have immense potential for being of great benefit, but also to do great harm – and ultimately which direction they go in is completely determined by the human element. Digging into the allegory a little deeper, the film poses interesting questions regarding a Creator who in creating beings in his image has designed both good and evil beings, and who both gives life and takes away life.

Bottom line: A beautifully dark vision, a message worthy of contemplation, decent vocal performances, a very disappointing score with a dumbfoundingly nonsensical story.
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2/10
Terrible disappointment, almost left the cinema in the middle
Soom26 September 2009
I'm not sure what dragged me into the cinema to watch this movie, but few minutes after it started, I wanted to leave the theater. For a while I hoped at least the story will surprise me, but then realized it's a waste of time, there was just nothing there. I stayed only because I had another show after it.

Design: some designs where quite beautiful, mostly of the environment, but the characters were terrible both in terms of animation and design. They look great while still - on posters and screenshots, but not when they have to come to life! They just didn't work, mostly because the very same mistake most 3D companies make: technically it is very hard to create really natural materials in 3D, that would make you feel that the character is alive. You need a lot of effort and knowledge (hence money) to create something that really feels like hair, skin, fabric, etc. Those characters in the movie were made out of "cloth", and that just didn't work! So they had this ugly cold feeling of the computer artificiality, where the cloth stretches or squeezes like a piece of plastic. It just didn't have the feel of a material, that dolls are made of (that's what those characters meant to be). I think it was a big mistake choosing this style for the characters. It just had a feeling of a 3D shoot'n'run computer game. I don't want to go to cinema to have a computer game on my screen, don't know about you...

Animation was also a disgrace. I am a professional animator and was terribly disappointed at the low level of animation in "9". It was stiff, boring, almost lacked any imagination or mood. It was just a little bit above most average 3D animations I saw, and that doesn't add to it any good...

And all that - the bad character design and bad animation could be solved with a good story, right?! That was not the case here. Actually the story was the worst thing in that movie. It was below any level. It starts straight forward, it goes straight forward and it ends the same. There is no twist, no surprise, no good dialogs, even no development. We've heard and saw stories of machines overtaking the humankind thousands of times and "9" is just one of them, and we know how it ends at the very first minute of that movie. The characters don't even have time to get into the story - they are just there, showing themselves almost immediately, and immediately some of them take action without even getting to know what's going on. It just didn't work. There are also many repetitive action sequences, that looked as if they were made to fill in the time for the lack of a story...

Acting, sound and script - oh my gosh, what can I tell, it was pathetic. Bad story has a bad script, and except dialogs like "No, don't do it!" "I will do it!" "But... you cannot do it alone!" "We can do it together!" "But there are rules!" "But we have to save him!" etc etc and so on, and repeating itself all the time, so besides those terribly pathetic dialogs, there were those non stop "Ahh" and "Ohhh" and"Ehh", and "Oooh", and "Whatchout", and "Run!" and "OhOhh!" that were following almost every jump, run, or fall of the characters and it even sounded as if they were out of sync or even unrehearsed.

Conclusion: bad acting, bad animation, bad sound, bad story, bad script, bad characters, everything expected, no surprises, no twist, nothing. Only some good designs are not worth the time. BIG NO!
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5/10
It would have been easier for them to have made the story sensical
Zenblend4 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
From the first moment I saw little 9 get up and explore his world, I was reminded of some of the genius works of creativity that Newgrounds sometimes churns out—quiet, existential stories of apocalyptic despair. This led me to hope against hope that 9 would be a work with no dialogue from the robots. Yes, it would have been confusing at first; but I think it would have prevented the overly-Hollywood feel that the movie ended up having.

From the moment that I saw 1's reaction to 9, I knew this movie would be plagued with clichés. Again, I hoped that they would kick these tired old character designs; but really, the only difference here was that the grumpy old man was mostly right in his insistence that hiding was the best option. I saw this; but I was okay with it. 6's antics were predictable enough; though I really was surprised that his character talked. Why would the seemingly traumatized fellow, who constantly, obsessively scribbles the same picture be of sound enough mind to hold conversations? So 9 and 5 head out to find 2. OK, that's reasonable. Sure it seemed incredibly rushed; but what of it? Inside the cave, though I would not have crafted a torch in an area with super-sensing robot dogs, that wasn't an issue, really. The problem arose after they rescued 2. Ignoring the overly-clichéd super fighting girl, jumping around like a Dragoon Knight, we have 9 inexplicably driven to complete the work that the evil dog was working on by inserting a talisman that 9 woke up with into a orifice. The machine comes to life and sucks out 2's soul. Good job there, 9. No way was the task of the bad guy going to end badly.

Here we have the first chance for Burton to make a non-typical Hollywood movie. It occurred to me that the dog had intended for its own evil soul, since we didn't know that it didn't have one, to be passed on to the giant machine so that it could more easily commit heinous acts upon the robots for whatever, unexplained, reason that it had done so thus-far. So, in light of that, perhaps 2's soul was now controlling the machine. That would have been clever—for the great monster that the others fled from to be their close friend. Alas, it was not to be. The machine is, inexplicably, evil.

The group, minus 2, returns to 1 and the others. After an obvious argument of "you're blinded by your fear," they're attacked by new robotic inventions from the machine. A-ha, one might think, the machine has inherited 2's ingenuity and is using it against its enemies. No, no, it's just being inexplicably evil again. The monsters get away with 8's soul. Still ignoring the fact that 1 is right about 9 having ruined all of their lives, he insists on chasing after them. We notice that 6 has a key around his neck for no, as of yet, explained reason. Perhaps it will come into play later.

It is at this point that I supposed to myself that perhaps the 9 of them contain the personality that was taken from the machine in order to stop it the first time. That it was eating souls in order to reclaim its full potential. Clever; but perhaps too complicated for the Hollywood crowd, looking for a Transformers with burlap.

The group storms the factory wherein the machine is creating all sorts of little evils. 9 and 7 manage to provoke the monster, while 1 and 5 argue over when to blow up the machine with a barrel of oil. (Because man, for all his ingenuity, was incapable of using Greek fire before being wiped out.) The heroes all unite right as the factory goes up in an explosion. Hardly appropriately, they begin to celebrate with a phonograph playing "Somewhere over the Rainbow". The obligatory romantic connection between 9 and 7 comes about out of nowhere; but their love will have to wait—turns out that fire isn't enough to kill a super AI of death after all.

As they run away and watch 5 get his soul eaten, 6 decides that they all need to return to "the source"; and throws himself to the monster. Um, OK. This might have made sense if the story followed one of the more complex routes that I imagined it might.

In a moment of changeover that would make Tyler Durden proud, 9 finds himself in the room where he woke up. The music-box that he opens has a lock but, no, the key 6 was wearing is not needed. It simply has a lock for aesthetics' sake. The ensuing hologram tells 9 that the scientist's soul was divided into the 9 robots, and little else. With this knowledge, 9 rushes back to the others.

Here, I thought, "a-ha, the scientist meant for the robots souls to be eaten so that his collective soul would bring rationality to the evil machine. Again, however, I was wrong.

During the final conflict, 1 needlessly sacrifices his soul to the monster; and 9 somehow takes the talisman from the machine (despite the fact that 5 had tried and failed before it first awoke). 9 destroys the machine; and the souls fly around a suddenly-appearing fire, encircled by five graves. The souls manifest into the familiar faces of 1, 2, 5, 6, and 8, smile at the others, ascend into the sky, explode, and rain down in green, life-giving rain upon the land. Roll the credits.

Another reviewer noted that this movie was one that was followed by a speedy exit. He was not mistaken. I honestly believe that it took more work to make the story nonsensical and pointlessly full of holes than it would have been to make it compelling and fresh.
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1/10
Just awful!
escolnik27 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This movie made it into one of my top 10 most awful movies. Horrible.

There wasn't a continuous minute where there wasn't a fight with one monster or another. There was no chance for any character development, they were too busy running from one sword fight to another. I had no emotional attachment (except to the big bad machine that wanted to destroy them)

Scenes were blatantly stolen from other movies, LOTR, Star Wars and Matrix.

Examples

>The ghost scene at the end was stolen from the final scene of the old Star Wars with Yoda, Obee One and Vader.

>The spider machine in the beginning was exactly like Frodo being attacked by the spider in Return of the Kings. (Elijah Wood is the victim in both films) and wait......it hypnotizes (stings) its victim and wraps them up.....uh hello????

>And the whole machine vs. humans theme WAS the Matrix..or Terminator.....

There are more examples but why waste the time? And will someone tell me what was with the Nazi's?!?! Nazi's????

There was a juvenile story line rushed to a juvenile conclusion. The movie could not decide if it was a children's movie or an adult movie and wasn't much of either.

Just awful. A real disappointment to say the least. Save your money.
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1/10
Why is 6 afraid of 7? Because 7 8 9.
Warning: Spoilers
I seriously can't believe Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov, two people I LOVE, signed on to produce this crap. Tim Burton is a brilliant director, but to be honest I've been losing interest in him for a while since his last few movies were either remakes or adaptations. He did produce the brilliant "Nightmare Before Christmas", which is one I've watched multiple times, and directed movies like "Beetlejuice" and "Sleepy Hollow", which are awesome films. Bekmambetov directed 3 films that I LOVE: Night Watch, Day Watch, and Wanted. I've only seen those three of his, but they prove he's an awesome director.

Those two people producing one of the many reasons I was excited to see 9. So today I went to go see it at the theatre. I was so excited to finally have seen it. I had waited 7 months for the movie to come out.

This movie is the first time I've walked out of a Tim Burton-related movie and said "I enjoyed almost NONE of that". I felt heartbroken to even have felt that way. I mean, with him and Bekmambetov at the production helm you'd have expected this movie to be a good watch. Right now I still can't get over how let down I was by this movie. I hadn't even heard of the original short film before seeing it but now, I can successfully say that this movie should have remained a short movie. Hell, Neil Blomkamp made an AWESOME full length remake of Alive in Joburg entitled District 9, what was so hard to get right about 9??? I really wanted to think this movie was awesome. I really did. But no, it failed on so many levels.

The plot was extremely confusing and disjointed. I had no idea what was going on, let alone what it was about. Basically it's about a bunch of rag doll robots trying to save the earth. Well, OK, that's what I got from it. But the writing here is extremely poor. The whole film jumps around like a 6 year old with A.D.D. telling a story. There's this big, giant clanky monster robot that 9 awakens, causing destruction and stuff. That's the main villain. However, what else is wrong with this movie is that EVERYTHING COMES OUT OF NOWHERE. There were too many monster robots, most of which have no logical explanation behind them. They have 0 development whatsoever. I mean, that flying pterodactyl like monster just rips out of nowhere, we have no idea where it comes out of and Acker just expects us to know what it is. What was even more retarded was that snake-like creature with the strobing eyes that hypnotize. I dare you to give that description to someone else out loud and expect them not to laugh. All of the 3 people I told about it burst out laughing. Oh and it wraps victims up and sews them inside it. I'M. NOT. KIDDING.

The twist in Act III is the most retarded aspect of the whole movie. So basically 9 goes back to the room he woke up in, finds this box with a hologram from the scientist in it for 9, and he tells him that the big scary machine robot was designed to bring robot life to earth, but then evil humans use it for war, and it was supposed to help protect the earth, but then the scientist gave his life to 9 so that it could help protect the world with it. And HE ONLY MENTIONS GIVING HIS LIFE TO 9. But what about the other robots? WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES TO THEM???????? This is the perfect example of poor, rushed writing. There's only one of the life taking device thingy that exists so how did the other 8 get life given to them??????? The characters are not likable at all either. They risk their lives for no reason at all. The only good character is 7. 6 annoyed me with his "GO BACK TO THE SOURCE!!!!!!" ramblings, 1 is an overpowering idiot, 2 we don't know ANYTHING about, 5 kept annoying me with his "Are you sure..." or "Can I stay here instead...?" questions. And that ending? UGH. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks that the ending was a huge WTF moment.

There's nothing redeeming about this turd except for its beautiful animation. Everything looks realistic and beautiful, I love the gloomy and depressing look of everything. However, beauty can't save a good movie.

While it's true that this movie is very pretty looking, pretty is as pretty does, and 9 does squat. I'm sure Burton fans will be flocking to the theatre to see this movie without a doubt, in fact with his and Bekmambetov's names being thrown around the promos, people will be flocking to the theatre to see this movie. I know I may be making a big deal out of nothing, but watching this movie made me realize how much I hate movies with unlikeable characters, nonexistent plot and just pure style over content. And this movie is one of those movies.
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2/10
Great visuals, horrible dialogue
Melancut13 September 2009
Rapturously good visuals: inventive, dark but grotesquely beautiful, wonderful action. Horrible execution of dialogue, character development and plot.

There are some GREAT ideas (the original short film is worth seeing) but by the time it hit the big screen, they glossed over everything unique and intriguing about the story in favor of shallow stereotypes and huffy, histrionic dialogue. The premise was good, the execution just failed. Also: not real thrilled with the decision to make the fabric for one of the stitchpunks in the same pattern as that used for WWII concentration camp prisoners. That's a risky connotation to take in art, and I feel like the film was too emotionally cheap to have validated its use.

Visual win. Character / plot / dialogue fail. Ackerman should have stuck with his strengths from the original short film. I'd watch a remake with a more experienced writer helping out.
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