9 is Not a 10

It's prolly more like a 7. Maybe an 8 if you're feeling charitable. Oh, and it's not to be confused with District 9 – don't take the kiddies to that one; this one's scary enough. No, this is the Little-Big-Planet-Meets-Pinocchio-Meets-Those-Robot-Bad-Guys-From-The-Matrix "9." The titular character is a stitched-up burlap animatron given the spark of life, the last creation of a benevolent scientist amidst a post-apocalyptic world ruled by machines.

I gotta say, I'm a little tired of post-apocalyptic worlds ruled by machines. You'd think by now that everyone's seen enough movies to know that the second you make an artificially intelligent machine, the government will swoop in to use it as a weapon, then the machine will make more machines, which will in turn rise up and destroy us all. As, apparently, their thanks for creating them. And why is the machines' next task to immediately make the world as dank and unattractive as humanly (or machinely, I guess) possible? Did we not program them to like nice things?

Anyway, as post-apocalyptic worlds ruled by machines movies go, this one's not bad by any means. But for a movie dealing with questions of soul, it's kind of lacking one itself. It's hard to get too terribly invested in the numerical heroes – they're well animated and sort of awkwardly appealing, but basically cyphers instead of characters (ha!) There's the brave one, the shy ones, the dumb one, the mean one, etc. Actually, I guess it's the brave 9, the dumb 5, the mean 1, but you know what I mean.

And their struggle is somewhat ill-defined. There're a couple big metal beasties to get away from, a hazily explained quest to understand their identity, and something about pressing buttons on an archaic-looking version of Simon. They trek from one place to another and back to the same place and all of a sudden, 88 minutes are up and you're kinda scratching your head.

If you're a tech demo head or a Tim Burton guy, you'll likely love it. The world is pretty beautifully realized (even if it in itself is ugly) and the CGI is well-executed (with the possible exception of the fact that the little burlap people don't exactly move like they're made of burlap, more like you clicked on the burlap texture in Photoshop). The action scenes, battling the remnants of the machines, are spectacular, altho they're representative of the gap – and trap – this flick falls into. It's prolly too scary for kids, but it's definitely too light for adults. And teens aren't gonna think the characters are cool, so who's this movie made for?

Blu-Ray, perhaps, where the stuff'll be less scary and tech geeks can pore over what I can only assume will be countless hours of special features dissecting the 3D modeling and every step it took to evolve 9 from an Oscar-nominated short to a feature film. For the rest of the world? It's ok. If 9 is a 7, it'd equate to a C. An 8, a B. I'll give it a 7.5... C+. Worth a watch... ish.


Kate said...

THANK you, sir. I haven't been to see the movie - and probably won't - but your mention of the absence of soul hit the nail on the head. I saw the trailer at least 14 times this summer (ahem), and each time it perplexed me more than the last. All I could say was, "I don't get it." Because I didn't. When the later, expanded trailers started showing, I began to get what the movie was about; what I didn't understand was...why should I care? Humans are gone, machines have taken over, the world is trashed, blah blah overdone blah, and all that are left are nine little non-human creatures that are supposed to stop the machines. Um...why? What's the point? The human race is extinct. Game over. Meh; I'll pass on the movie. I did download the Coheed and Cambria song from the trailer, though - now THAT was worth the time.

Emily Cross said...

Hi Geo,

How are you?

i'm sorry to bother you, but I've recently started up a community forum for writers called the The Writer's Chronicle where we can meet and discuss all that is writing with other 'online' writers. Also with the recent addition of some published author members we have decided to set up a section to support published writers and help them promote themselves and their books - as we all know how hard it is to get published and how its even harder to get a large readership!

I know this email is out of the blue, but i was hoping that you might drop in and take a look around and perhaps join if your interested?

I'd greatly appreciate it,


Emily Cross

Writer's Chronicle Link: http://thewriterschronicle.forumotion.net/forum.htm