9 is a post-apocalyptic fairy-tale that pulls from many of the other great films in this sci-fi genre. Drawing its ideas and inspiration from other such classic cinematic outings as The Matrix, Twelve Monkeys, War of the Worlds and more. The animation is wonderfully dark and expressively moody, as it brings the simplistic elements to life. Right down to the stitching on these sackcloth rag dolls that have been infused with life in order to find hope in a shattered world and maybe even a brand new start.
The story begins as we meet 9, a Sack-cloth rag doll who finds himself all alone in a strange new world with no real knowledge of how he got there or even where ‘there’ is. One by one he meets a motley collection of rag-doll like creatures just like him. Each having their own strengths and weaknesses and yet strangely devoted to protecting their home in the upper regions of a church tower. As one of them is taken by a harsh futuristic robotic menace, 9 calls on his counterparts to stand up and fight for what is important. Each other.
Directed by Shane Acker and based on his 2005 11 minute short film, the animation has been brought to life with the help of producers Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov (The man responsible for vampire fantasy Night Watch). The visual symphony that dances across the screen reeks of Burton’s influence while the ever so dark manner in which the plot is crafted has that somewhat tortured emotional feel that oozes from Bekmambetov.
I really enjoyed this film, I found myself drawn in to the simple story and intriguing characters and the mountain of survival that they must conquer. For me, I enjoyed the elements that Acker has drawn from other movies, although some of the other reviewers around me found it somewhat unoriginal and found the cinematic similarities distracting. I guess if you’re willing to give this little film a go, then be open to being lost in what it is. A 76 minute homage to some of the great post-apocalyptic films of the past thirty years.
Reviewed by: Jon E Clist
Releases: 25th February 2010
Rating: M Content that may disturb
Duration: 76 minutes
Starring: Christopher Plumber, Martin Landau, John C Reilly, Crispin Glover, Jennifer Connelly & Elijah Wood
Director: Shane Acker