This one I recommend.

Smart; greatly beautiful

1 (right) explains a few things to 9.

I just saw what appears to be a film starring the Sackboys from Little Big Planet. I’ve had the film 9 in mind for a while, but it was recently that I decided to watch it, and thus discover what a cool movie it is.

I hear there’s a dark and interesting short film out there somewhere, also directed by Shane Acker, on which this film is based. I have yet to see this short, but I’m guessing it’s quite good, as it apparently deserved a feature length film based on it. This will be good, I correctly thought.

9 is, like most great sci-fi films, set on a post-apocalyptic Earth, some time after a war between man kind and an army of machines, created by an unnamed scientist (Alan Oppenheimer); however the focus isn’t on human beings, but on a bunch of ragdolls, also created by The Scientist, who act and speak a lot like humans. One of them, number 9 (Elijah Wood), is rescued from one of the machines by another doll, a kind inventor named 2 (Martin Landau), who gets kidnapped as 9 is taken to safety by 5 (John C. Reilly).

He ends up in a cathedral known as Sanctuary, where he meets more ragdolls – 1 (Christopher Plummer), the elderly, ruthless leader of the ragdolls, 7 (Jennifer Connelly) a tough warrior-doll, 8 (Fred Tatasciore), 1’s intimidating but dim-witted servant, and 6 (Crispin Glover), a seemingly insane doll, although one who shows signs of knowing more than anyone else and constantly draws something he refers to as ‘The Source’.

Despite 1’s warnings, 9 decides to go look for 2 and rescue him, getting 5 to follow him, as well as encountering 7 when they reach The Factory, the place where 2 is held. They manage to rescue him, but shortly afterwards, 9 accidentaly starts one of the largest machines, B.R.A.I.N., by putting a device, that resembles The Source from 6’s drawings, in it. After B.R.A.I.N. awakens and seemingly consumes the soul of 2, the rest of them escape and realize that things are about to get worse.

9 and the dark world he lives in.

The world inhabited by all these machines and all these dolls is a both beautiful and fascinating one. Presumably it takes place in the future, but many of the gadgets look a bit old-fashioned, so I suppose the film counts as a Steampunk-movie, which is always nice.

I enjoyed 9 greatly. The visuals are astoundingly beautiful, the story, though sometimes confusing, is quite interesting, the score by Danny Elfman and Deborah Lurie is an excellent one and the voice-acting is rather good, that of Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau especially. I enjoyed also the way the main characters look; mighty interesting design, says I. Catching the film as it happened to be playing on one of my movie-channels isn’t something I regret doing.

Something else I liked was how quiet the film sometimes gets. The more powerful moments of the film are the ones where the characters utter no words, and let the music and the imagery do all of the work.

Something hit me as I sat down to write this review; something about the dolls. Towards the end of the film it is revealed what they really are and how they were created, and it was not until I started working on this review that I realized how brilliant this reveal was and how it explained the very different personalities and attributes of the characters. At this point I knew for certain what a deep and intelligent film I had just seen. To be perfectly honest, this realization was so powerful on me that I was almost moved to tears. This most likely sounds silly, but I am telling the truth.

Really, the only thing that prevents me from giving the film a full rating of 5/5 is the fact that sometimes the animation doesn’t look too good; it becomes slightly distracting towards the end when it starts to rain and the rain clearly needs work. Sometimes the action scenes are a little too quick, as well.

Nevertheless, 9 is a film I highly recommend anyone to see. As I mentioned, I haven’t yet seen Shane Acker’s short-film of the same name, but there’s a great chance that I will; I’m sure it’s equally good.

4.5/5 whatever