Friday 18 September 2009

9 - Movie Review

Title: 9
Year: 2009

Director: Shane Acker

Writer: Panela Pettler
(Screenplay), Shane Acker (Story)
Producer: Tim Burton, Timur Bekmambetov
Studio: A F
ocus Features & Relativity media Film
Stock: C
Run Time: 7
4 min.

"9" is a movie that will make you think; it will cause you to reflect upon man, humanity and what the world would be like without us. It is a nonstop action-packed adventure, from director Shane Acker. It is a feature-length adaptation from his Academy Award-nominated 2004 short film with the same name.

The story is set in the not too distant future. A future in which a great machine that was to be a tool of peace became a tool of war. The great machine was first used to wage war against other countries, and then against unrest at home. Eventually the machine revolted and waged war on all mankind. Humanity has been wiped out, and the machines have mostly gone dormant. The film begins with 9, a small creature created by a scientist awakening to life.

9 soon realizes that there are others like himself; 2 has been taken by a machine and 1 wants to keep hiding, but 9 and 5 go into the barrens in search of him. In doing so, they awaken the great machine. 9 realizes that they must undo what he has done. 9 also realizes that they have been left a mission, a quest. They are the legacy of civilization, of humanity.

These creatures, called 'stitchpunk' - based on their cloth exterior and mechanical interior and extremities, are fascinating creatures. Small in size and individual abilities they must work together to defeat the machines and establish a future hoped for by their creator.

But in my opinion, the greatest feature of the film is the underlying themes, the philosophy, the theology of the work. The film is eschatological in nature dealing with the end times or end of history, end of humankind. However with the creation of the 9 it is also the beginning - a genesis of sorts. It is the end of humans and the beginning of the stitchpunks, with 4 and 5 as childlike, and an obvious romantic tension between 7 and 9. After the film, those of us who went together sat in silence through the entire credits, just thinking and reflecting on the film. One guy commented, 'I'm thinking; I am not sure about what but the movie has me thinking." That, in and of itself, is a great thing. This film will be fantastic to watch in a group and head out for coffee or pints after to begin the dialogue that the film will inspire.

The film is voiced by an all star cast; 9 voiced by Elijah Wood, 1 by Christopher Plummer, 2 is Martin Landau, 3 and 4, scholarly twins who communicate nonverbally and mostly with each other; 5 is John C. Reilly, 6 by Crispin Glover, the feisty 7 is Jennifer Connelly, and 8 voiced by Fred Tatasciore. The animation and cinematographic scope of the film is incredible. At times you forget it is animation. With Tim Burton's name associated with the film, it cannot help but do well in the box office. With an opening weekend of more than $3 million it is a commercial success, the question is, will the themes and undertones in the film cause discussion and maybe help us to avoid such a future? That is something that only time will tell.

(First Published in Imprint 2009-09-18.)

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