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Sep 9, 2009

Fletch's Film Review: 9

This ought to be one of the earlier reviews you'll see of this flick, so I think I can get away with this horrible shtick. Rhyme not really intended.

Nine things about the movie I saw on the ninth day of the ninth month of 2009, 9:

1. It's damn short. Based on a 2005 short film of the same name, 9 clocks in at a mere 79 minutes. Not surprisingly, this leaves it a bit short in the story department. The viewer is plunked into a dystopian, Matrix-like (the "real world of the Matrix) world in which the machines have taken over...sort of. We're meant to feel the same disorientation of the lead character, a rag doll robot named, of course, 9. However, it might not have been such a good idea to leave your audience disoriented for 1/8 of the running time.

2. The animation is beautiful, though perhaps a bit too familiar, evoking images and atmospheres seem frequently as of late. The opening sequence could double for Coraline. The coloring of 9's world and the eyes of 9 and his "people" look an awful lot like those of a cute little Pixar robot.

3. Also familiar is 9's "act first, fear later" attitude, reminiscent of the brave rat that was the star of the recent Tale of Desperaux. As are the art-deco monsters and general storyline, which feel somewhat copped from Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Basically, there's not a lot about 9 that feels fresh or new, and there are cliches aplenty...

4. ...Including the use of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," which was eye roll-inducing. I thought John Woo had hijacked the film for a moment. At least it wasn't a slow-motion scene.

5. That said, possibly the best thing that 9 has going for it is its tremendous character design. By making the Stitchpunks (as they're apparently called) look neither human nor robotic, we're greeted with adorable creatures that are as fun to look at still as they are when they're running...and they look pretty funny when they're on the move.

6. I fell asleep at one point...during the first of two climaxes. Not good (though I wasn't out long, if that helps).

7. It has an interesting, eclectic, voice cast, with Elijah Wood (9), Martin Landau, Christopher Plummer, Jennifer Connelly, John C. Reilly, and Crispin Glover (who, of course, voices the "weird" rag doll).

8. How this film received the same rating as such other 2009 films as Obsessed, The Haunting in Connecticut, Fast & Furious, The Proposal, Terminator: Salvation, etc., etc. - with a PG-13 - is beyond me. The Secret of Nimh - albeit released in 1982 at a time when films were obviously rated differently - contains what I would recall to be scarier content, and was rated G. Ratings fodder aside, the content is not at a "13 and above" level; this is a film made for 8-12 year olds.

9. Though tonally totally different, 9 fits in a category with another recent animated film, spring's Monsters vs. Aliens. Both borrowed heavily from any and all available sources, are entertaining yet not compelling, in the end feeling more like innocent, empty eye candy than the more substantial works of their peers. Whether that is faint praise or condemnation, I leave to you and your tastes.

Fletch's Film Rating:
"You seem a decent fellow. I hate to kill you."
Shaky Cam Rating (details): LAMBScore:
Large Association of Movie BlogsLarge Association of Movie Blogs

5 people have chosen wisely: on "Fletch's Film Review: 9"

Richard Bellamy said...

Fletch - I saw this on 9/9/09 (ooh, ah!) as well, and my opinion of it is pretty much along the lines of yours. Interesting action - but too much of it. Visually interesting, but as you put it - "entertaining yet not compelling."

Nick said...

I have to disagree on most of your points. How could you fall asleep (did you see it late or something)? I also never once felt disoriented or confused... at least until the end, when the "amulet" bit confused me on a logical level (it just felt circular in purpose).

Though I do agree that the movie is visually gorgeous.

The rating doesn't confuse me. What does confuse me, however, is how this got a PG13, while the last Harry Potter only got a PG. Maybe this was just consistently darker, while the latter had enough romance intertwined. Who knows?

35mm Reviews said...

I haven't had the chance to watch it yet, but being a Tim Burton's movie, I personally believe it'd offer an interesting story and dark/amazing computer characters.

For what I've seen in the trailers, it seems to be interesting, not just the story, but the characters and images. At least, we know that it has such a great cast supporting the voices!

Nick said...

35mm: It's not a Tim Burton film... he was just an executive producer.

Colin Biggs said...

I feel asleep as well I had wanted to see Inglourious Basterds, but I ended up being dragged to this.

Later I find out my friend said she had no idea what it was about but the trailer looked cool.