Movie review: 9

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Animator Shane Acker's 2005 short film 9 won several awards on its release, and was also nominated for an Oscar. It's easy to see why so many have been so impressed by the imagery (you can watch it on YouTube), but its story of a small, burlap-covered creature in a post-apocalyptic world of killer machines is pretty flimsy even by short-film standards.

In all respects, the new, feature-length version of 9 is a faithful expansion of the original. With more money to burn thanks to producer Tim Burton, Acker pours attention and detail onto his figures and setting, and again treats the narrative as an afterthought.

9 (voiced by Elijah Wood) is the ninth and last sentient creation of an elderly scientist, who dies before 9 is activated. From the scientist's lab, 9 ventures into the world and finds several of his kin, led by 1, the fearful elder (Christopher Plummer).

They're forced from hiding when 9 inadvertently reactivates the master machine that brought about humankind's demise, but in trying to fix his mistake, 9 discovers the reason for his existence.

Well, sort of. The pseudo-spiritual mumbo jumbo in this part of the tale is sketchy. The rest of it mainly involves the creatures running or fighting their way out of perilous situations.

You may find yourself hypnotized by Acker's vision, but only if his ideas don't have you looking at your watch, the movie's 80-minute running time notwithstanding.


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Grade: C