One thing you should know about 9 is that even though it’s an animated film, it’s not for children. Not to say that kids can’t enjoy it, but it’s not written towards them and has a dark feel overall.
When the film first opens, you’re not really sure what is going on, which is actually one of the things I liked about it; the backstory does unravel as the film moves forward so by the end, you get it. As a result, I was pretty hooked right away as I really wanted to see how everything played out since the ambiguity intrigued me.
The creatures and environment are set in a post-apocalyptic time period when man has gone too far and been consumed by ambition, power, war and machines. The only survivors we see in the film are machines and these puppet/doll-like beings that are kind of hard to describe, you’ll just have to watch the film or at least catch the trailer to see what I mean.
From my understanding, the original concept by Shane Acker was seen by Tim Burton and he signed on as producer to help bring the full-length feature to the big screen. While this is Acker’s baby (who wrote and directed) you can see some of Tim Burton’s influence in here in the design and quirkiness whether he was hands on or not with the actual production.
There’s some great talent doing the voice work including: Elijah Wood, Jennifer Connelly, Christopher Plummer, Martin Landau, John C. Reilly, Crispin Clover and more. The cast does a great job in each of their roles and brings a human-like quality and connection to the puppet/doll-like beings, with Elijah Wood playing the 9 character. The human connection makes sense a bit later in the film.
While I wouldn’t recommend taking your kids to see this, it’s definitely worth checking out on the big screen if you enjoy really well done 3-D animation both in design and story.
reviewed by Sean McKnight