*** Official 9 Review Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by DaveF, Sep 12, 2009.

  1. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator

    Mar 4, 2001
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    One Loudoun, Ashburn, VA
    Real Name:
    David Fischer
    9 is the latest feature animation movie, all computer graphics, and something of a close out to the summer big-action fare. Not from Disney*Pixar or Dreamworks or Fox, it brings an original style and vision. The opening sequence is gorgeous and scattered through the movies are brilliant, novel scenes to take in.

    Unfortunately, the stunning show-off scenes are the beginning and end of this movie's strengths.

    9 is post-apocalyptic story about the surviving remnant -- nine sentient ragdolls. It feels like a movie where an artist created a gorgeous and unique scene or demo sequence -- ragdolls struggling for survivial in an alternate reality, post-apocalyptic world -- and when confronted with the prospect of actually making an entire movie, grabbed a hodgepodge of cliches, a half-baked backstory, blended them together and called it done. The characters are dull; there's nothing to make an emotional connection with them. The plotting is forced and ultimately logically inconsistent. The visuals are at times gorgeous and stirring, but this stirring vision is not maintained, hindered by the lack of interesting story.

    We start with the awakening of the ragdoll, "9", indicated by the "9" painted on his back. His is ignorant of his origins, and so is our stand-in. We soon meet his brethren, each also with their particular number painted on its back, to help us tell them apart. And each has its equivalently painted-on personality: Leader, Strong Man, Fighter, Healer, and so on. And that's the extent of their character development.

    If, in the opening minutes, our freshly awakened hero, 9, had done the obvious thing -- the thing he's just about to do until distracted by something shiny -- the story would be resolved immediately and there would be no movie. Instead, the movie writers willfully force the characters to avoid doing the obviously sensible things to drag out the story. And despite the artificial stretching of the story, the movie still only ekes out 80 minutes. And at the end, 9 finally gets around to doing what he should have done at first, the thing that he was told multiple times to do by another ragdoll, and the movie ends. And with that ending, it still makes no sense.

    If you're an animation nut, this is worth watching for the stirring vistas and some kinematic sequences.

    If you're about 12 years old, then this may rock your world -- I think to my passion for "Black Hole" and "Tron" and "Dark Crystal" some 25 years ago in my youth and think this might do the same for today's kids.

    But if you want rich characters, strong story, real emotional investment -- the movies that Pixar makes -- then skip 9 and re-watch Up.
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator

    Dec 9, 1998
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    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "9". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an
    Official Discussion Thread.

  3. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer

    Aug 20, 2000
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    The trailer of this film -and the short film the movie is based on- made the premise look very interesting. However, the full length result leaves a bit to be desired. The animation in the film was very well done, considering that it is not a Pixar film. In fact, the monster animation in this film reminded me of an old stop motion animated film by a fellow named Jan Svankmeyer. The monsters in "9" had that same skeletal look and hodepodge of parts that Svankmeyer created in his creatures from the film "Alice". At least, that is what came to my mind when watching "9".

    However, I was rather disappointed in the story to this film. In fact, this film shows that what works in a short subject sometimes does not have enough meat to work over a full length feature. As I watched "9", I couldn't help but ask myself what the actual point of the film was, because from what I saw it really didn't have one. It was just a series of vignettes of little burlap people running around trying to escape a bunch of ugly, vicious machines who were trying to capture them for whatever reason the machines had. I found the characters to be uniformly unexceptional. As an audience member, I found there was very little emotional connection to any of the characters which, IMO, is a death blow in any film, but especially so in an animated film. If you cannot feel yourself being put in the shoes of the character or characters then the film has failed on some basic level, regardless of the technical brilliance. That is what happened as I watched "9". I found myself being a detached observer of a lot of well executed action scenes, but having no emotional involvement with what was occurring on screen.

    In fact, I would say a film has a major problem when a few seconds of war footage, showing humans combatting machines, is the most compelling thing about it. In this film, I was more interested in seeing more of the backstory that led up to the apocalypse than the aftermath of the apocalypse itself. I also found some of it to be illogical regarding the talisman that forms the central part of the story. All in all, the film was visually amazing but the story was not well thought out. Instead of the Emperor having no clothes, this film was like the clothes having no emperor. I would have to rate this film a "C" which is a disappointment because, being a fan of animation, I like to see it being used, just as it was in this film, for more than light comedies.

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