Directed by Shane Acker
In a dark, decrepit post-apocalyptic world, 9 (voiced by Elijah Wood)—a small doll made out of what appears to be an old potato sack with a zipper, copper hands, and cylinder eyes—awakens to become the savior of planet earth. Humanity has been destroyed by machines (similar to the demise of humans in the Terminator saga) and it is up to 9 and a group of other dolls, all labeled and named with a number, to figure out how to save and restart life on the planet. Each of them possesses a gift and only 9 is the one that can help them figure out what it is.
Tim Burton’s name has been slapped all over this new animated film (although he is merely one of four other producers). Director Shane Acker certainly keeps to the typical gloomy, ominous atmosphere we have seen in Burton’s films before, creating a world that keeps a viewer enticed as they watch the story play along.
9 is certainly not an animated children’s movie, as the violent deaths given to some of the very likeable characters are powerfully done. Like other post-apocalyptic movies, this one is challenging the notion that we—humans—are relying to much on machines and computers and ultimately technology is what will evaporate us in a violent war of man v. machine.
The plot of this movie is very simple. 9 and the others must figure out how to destroy The Brain—a technological creation made by the same scientist who created 9 and the others that was taken over by a totalitarian military leader who decides to use it for war rather than peace. Wow, that was some sentence.
Overall, this move is entertaining despite its uncomplicated plot. The animation is fantastic and the story continuously moves along without boring and unnecessary filler scenes. Of course, like all Burton films, a peculiar outcast looms among what would appear to be the normal group. 6 (voiced by Crispin Glover), the only doll wearing a Beetlejuice style, black and white stripped potato sack, shines in the latter part of this film.
9 has a star-studded cast consisting of Wood, Glover, Martin Landau, Jennifer Connelly, Christopher Plummer, and my favorite, John C. Reilly as 5. I think viewers will be impressed with the animation and enjoy this film, but no one should go in expecting to see something truly unique and memorable.