‘9’ is a story set in a post-apocalyptic city in a seemingly parallel universe to the one in which we live today. The premise of the unusually short film (only 79 minutes long) is a journey from awakening (at least for ‘9’) to fulfillment of destiny.
The cast alone is worth seeing the film with Elijah Wood, John C Reilly, Jennifer Connelly, Martin Landau, and Christopher Plummer. The ensemble of voices has great chemistry and it’s great to see the emotions that are portrayed and associated with what would otherwise be canvas puppets. The action, when present, is quite intense, although it’s certainly not a major player here. This film has more of a sense of adventure than previous animated films, although the environment in which the adventure takes place is very bleak to be kind.
The group is made up of your typical character archetypes: cautious leader, strongman bodyguard, brazen warrior, intelligent but crazy information specialist, old wise man, and happy-go-lucky guy. The final piece, 9, adds the element of humanity and courage to the group. Elijah Wood plays this part very well, considering his character from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Frodo Baggins, was essentially the same archetype as 9. Needless to say, Wood was a great fit for the role, and I’m not sure that I can see anyone else’s voice there.
As far as the setting is concerned, here’s a quick summary: man creates sentient machines, sentient machines turn against and destroy man, creating a dark, dreary background. For those that have played Fallout 3, think the Capital Wasteland sans the radiation. The picture above gives a good look at the type of place that I am trying to describe.
Overall, I enjoyed ‘9’. I felt that it was well-written, well-directed, and well-voiced. The drawbacks for me was the lack an overarching point and that it was shorter than I would have liked. I’m hoping that the DVD/BluRay release has an added 15-20 minutes. I recommend seeing ‘9’ because it shows the basic range of human emotions as played out in a setting that is completely devoid of humanity altogether. Again, the voice-acting is top-notch and the animation is also extremely well-done. At the end of the day, ‘9’ is a decent film, but I wouldn’t take the family to see it. I saw it for free, and it was definitely worth free.