Monday, January 25, 2010

9 (2009) - 3/5

I'm really torn about my experience watching "9". I want to love this movie so badly. I mean, conceptionally, "9" is a beast. Visually, its a beast, but for some reason it didn't have a profound effect on me like I believe it should have. There is lots of depth to be had in its story, but I don't think it went far enough.

"9" is a film based in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity is now gone and all that is left in their stead are 9 cloth dolls whom have been given a part of the human soul so that a part of humanity will survive. The 9 souls must survive the revival of the machines (whom were the cause of humanity's demise) as they struggle with one another and finding hope in the desolate wasteland.

Not necessarily the plot of a children's movie is it? Similar in some of the concepts of greed that made Pixar's "Wall-E" such a spectacular film, this one tends to be a little darker than what you might want in a kid's film. In fact, this is one of the darkest and un-kid movies I've seen that was animated. It's far too slow moving, creepy, and atmospheric for most kids. Which is one of the many reasons I loved it. Lots of great use of silence to display desolation, haunting visuals, creepy designs (the baby head snake machine haunts my nightmares from now on), and a wonderful score make this baby a visual feast.

Throw on top of all of that a concept about the survival of the human soul against a world turned machine, and this baby could have been impactful. Unfortunately, when the credits began to roll, I didn't feel impacted. Yeah, the concept is good, the voice acting is awesome, and the visuals amazing, but I came away feeling a bit unfulfilled. I think most of this has to do with the fact that "9" didn't go far enough. Being as it's a 'kid's' movie, they tried to simplify most of the the deeper elements (some of the religious undertones barely see the light of day) and it made the film feel far too watered down. With all of its potential, this film could have packed a serious punch. The ending of the film goes in the same manner. I won't give it away, but I definitely felt as though I was missing a few things so that when the credits popped up, I said to myself, "This is it?! This is all I get?!" and that's never a good reaction to a film.

It's too bad really, as "9" could have packed some serious heat for a movie. Perhaps they shouldn't have simplified it for a kid's audience, although the marketing for that would have been a nightmare. I wanted so much more out of "9" despite its great elements, and I never quite got them. 

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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