Directed by Shane Acker
Had I watched this film when it first came out last fall, there’s a pretty good chance that it would have made my list of top 10 films. And that’s probably the biggest praise I can give it.
I really expected nothing from “9”. The trailer made it look like your typical animated aventure film with a slight artistic flourish, due largely in part to the names attached to the creation of it. Nothing in particular stood out. But from the very opening minutes of the film I was hooked. (The first 10 – mostly silent minutes – are truly awesome.) For one thing, the art design is simply fantastic. I’ve always had a soft spot for postapocalyptic films, but Shane Acker and Tim Burton really outdid themselves with the design of this one. At first glance it seems like a very blank and non-specific canvas that the characters are moving around on, but if you look closely and think about what you’re seeing, you might recognize not only a couple real life locations, but also figure out the clever sub-text at work throughout the film.
The characters (or, the 9) will probably either make or break this film for the viewer depending upon particular taste. To some, the dialogue and acting might feel stunted, unnatural and completely robotic. Others will probably realize that that is exactly the point. This film isn’t about what these characters say to each other, but how they take action and deal with the situation of the world that they’ve found themselves living in. “9” is a rare example of a film where both the characters and the world they inhabit compliment each other perfectly, each one feeding the other.
I really can’t say enough good things about this film. The action is fierce and the pace is relentless. You should just check it out if you haven’t done so already. It’s most definitely the hidden gem of 2009.