Monday, July 07, 2014

9 (movie review)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

It’s not easy to predict what life will be like after humans have come and gone.  Sometimes, it’s by disease.  In many cases, we’ve all but wiped ourselves out, usually by way of nuclear weapons.  In the movie “9”, we built machines that turned on us killed every last human.  9 sentient dolls are left as the last proof that any of us were ever here.

When the movie starts, even many of the machines are gone.  Those that are left are running out of power.  The title character, 9, awakens in a scientist’s workshop alone.  He looks out to find another like him, but finds that he can’t speak.  He follows and eventually catches up with the other doll, who goes by 2.  (Each doll has their respective number on their chest.)  2 is able to fix 9’s voice.

Shortly thereafter, they’re ambushed.  2 is taken and 9 is left unconscious.  He awakes to find 1, 5, 6 and 8.  They take 9 back to their sanctuary.  He finds that each doll has their own personality.  1 is a pope-like leader.  8 is his enforcer.  5 tends to be shy.  6 is obsessed with The Source.  1 has kept the dolls safe from the remaining machines.  The others fall in line with him, usually out of fear.  (When they don’t, there’s always 8.)

What we have is a battle of wills.  1 wants to play it safe.  No harm can come to them if they hide.  However, 9 feels that action needs to be taken.  2 has been captured and may be in danger.  Yes, 1 has kept them safe and yes, 9 does create a fair amount of trouble that would never have happened had he listened to 1.  However, at what point do you stop playing it safe?  Sticking your head in the sand isn’t always the way to go.

I don’t want to give away the entire movie.  Even by animation standards, 79 minutes is short, so it’s easy to give away big chunks of the plot.  I will say that this is more of an adult-friendly movie.  I’ve said in other reviews that animation doesn’t always translate to kid-friendliness.  This version of the future is a dark and scary place.  Earth has become a wasteland with big robots preying on small dolls.

The plot is a simple one.  9 screws up a system that seems to work, but presents a case why it won’t always work.  He sets out to prove he’s right, screws things up and then has to put things back as best he can.  As I said, the characters have personalities, but tend to be one-dimensional.  With such a short time, there’s little chance at character development.  (The only thing that 8 is good at is pushing people around at 1’s command.)

The animation is great.  With few human characters in the movie, you can easily forget that it’s CGI.   This can also lend a sense of realism that may make the movie a bit more disturbing for children.  You have characters trying to outrun machines that are trying to kill them.  This does happen on occasion, and quite graphically.  I think that children would have a few sleepless nights if they saw this movie.

I did get to see this in theaters and had the chance to see it in 3D, which I really enjoyed.  Now that it’s on DVD, I don’t know if you’ll have the same option.  It would be nice if you did, as I thought it was worth it.  If the movie is ever shown in theaters in 3D again, I’d recommend seeing it there.  If you can’t get it in 3D on DVD, don’t worry about it.  It’s still a good movie.  While I’m glad I got the chance to see it on the big screen, I’d still recommend it on the small screen. 

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