Directed by: Shane Acker
Premise: An animated film. In a post-apocalyptic future, a war machine has wiped out mankind and the only intelligent life forms left are a group of nine tiny rag dolls that must find the secret behind the war machine’s creation to stop it from destroying them.
What Works: 9 has a very impressive design to the story world. This is a grittier and more violent film than most other animated pictures and 9 takes some risks in its presentation. This risk mostly pays off, as the coarse look and harder action gives the film’s characters and environment a sense of texture and the action a higher degree of peril.
What Doesn’t: Although 9 has an interesting look, the film’s characters are pretty hollow. It’s ironic that a film about the human soul doesn’t give one to its characters, who are flat and mostly interchangeable. The conflict between the elder doll (voiced by Christopher Plummer) and the newcomer (voiced by Elijah Wood) starts some kind of subplot and theme about renewal but the film drops it halfway through. The ending of 9 is really problematic and does not make very much sense at all. When the secret behind the war machine is revealed (and is ripped off of Soylent Green), it does not change the character’s goals or enhance the audience’s understanding of the conflict and the finale is a half assed attempt to infuse spirituality into the story.
Bottom Line: 9 is an interesting film to look at but there is not much substance in its story or in its characters.
Episode: #256 (September 20, 2009)