Some cool animation saves “9”
Not to be confused with the earlier summer release “District 9,” an alien encampment action pic or “Nine” the stage musical which will have its big screen adaptation released around Thanksgiving, “9” is a creatively animated, oddly fascinating, dark fantasy film produced by Tim Burton.
Burton was impressed by graduate school student Shane Acker’s Academy Award nominated short of the same name back in ’06 which led to the full length (albeit quick-paced 79 min.) feature film.
Directed by Acker with a script by Pamela Pettler (who helped pen “Corpse Bride”), “9” is a story of a brave little band of hand-stitched, burlap dolls no more than 8 inches tall who take on evil machines who have destroyed most of earth inhabitants.
Visually arresting, the bold, foreboding animation makes up for a predictably post apocalyptic storyline that has been pillaged for years and appears, unfortunately, to have yet run its course. Given the film’s scary images and intense action sequences, the PG-13 rating is appropriate and dispels any notions of a “Terminator for Toddlers” label, which, come to think of it, with the right product has great marketing potential.
Adults may see “9’s” lack of fresh ideas with a cynical approach. But the characters, voiced by Elijah Wood, Martin Landau, John C. Reilly, Jennifer Connelly, Christopher Plummer and Crispin Glover, feature a rogue team of likeable survivivalists trying to thwart evil, soul sucking, machine beasts-and what kid with an imagination can’t relate to that?
While not completely fleshed out or original, “9’s” themes of sticking together, challenging the status quo, and fighting for what you believe in, coupled with a cautionary tale of too much technology are nonetheless appreciated.
Imaginative if somewhat derivative, “9” may struggle to find the right audience but that doesn’t detract from its breathtaking visual style and an impressive debut by young director Shane Acker.
Rated PG-13 for violence and scary images