9 (2009)

9 movie poster 2009 animated
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Darker than you'd expect

The story takes too long to get going, visuals were good for the time but have aged a bit

Movie Info

Movie Name:  9

Studio:  Focus Features

Genre(s):  Animated/Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s): August 19, 2009 (France)/September 9, 2009 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

9 fabricator machine

Does it see us?

In a post-apocalyptic world destroyed by a machine named B.R.A.I.N., a humanoid creature named 9 has awoken.  Discovered by 2, 9’s curiosity and explorative nature has brought a dangerous threat to the world.  9 has reawakened B.R.A.I.N.’s Fabrication Machine which is now spitting out new horrors and threats.  9, 6, 1, 5, 8, 7, 3, and 4 are fighting for survival, and 9 must uncover the secret of B.R.A.I.N. and the origin of the beast itself before it is too late.

Directed by Shane Acker, 9 is an animated action-adventure movie.  The film is based on Acker’s Academy Award nominated 2005 short 9 and was released to average to positive reviews.

I saw 9 when it was relatively new and thought it was an interesting film.  The flow of the movie is a little off, but the fact that the movie has a darkness to it (due to a PG-13 rating) that other animated films in a similar vein lack.  9 looks like a movie aimed at kids but plays like a horror survival film at points.

9 number 2 loses soul

Nope…nothing terrifying about that

The biggest problem with the film is the plot.  The story throws viewers in and rapidly introduces characters and scenarios that feel like they need to be expanded or explained.  The basic ideas of 9 are developed and explored, but there is some background that feels lacking.  I never get a real feel for how 1 through 8 lived before 9’s arrival and there seems to be a lot of animosity between the numbers (which in a bigger picture makes sense since they are conflicting emotions of one person).  The story culminates to a big fight that kind of feels underwhelming…but it also creates a potential of hope.

The movie employs a good cast of actors for the film.  Elijah Wood takes the lead role as 9 which is kind of the general culmination of the scientist’s emotions while John C. Reilly lends his distinctive voice to 5.  The older robots (1 & 2) are played by Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau (respectively) and Crispin Glover, Jennifer Connelly, and Fred Tatasciore round out the collection (the twins 3 and 4 are non-vocal).

9 meets scientist

Meeting his maker…or himself?

Visually 9 is rather compelling, but since 9’s release, you can see a lot of advances in technology.  The film was produced by Tim Burton and you get a lot of Tim Burton’s influence in the visuals which looks like if Tim Burton jumped from stop-motion animation to computer animation.  Today, you can see where the film would have more texture, depth, and weight to the animation, but the core and composition of the film remains strong.

I was always surprised that 9 didn’t become more of a sleeper hit.  It has a lot of the charm of a dark version of some of Disney’s more edgy films and also holds a lot of influence from Japanese animated films like Spirited Away or something like Howl’s Moving Castle with its steampunk aspects.  I think if the story of 9 had been more developed, that 9 would have had a bit more staying power even though there are a number of fans.  Since 9’s release, there has been talk of a sequel (would it be 10?), and Acker has said he’d like to revisit the world he made…and maybe we’d learn what 9’s actions would have on the world.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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