Saturday, 31 October 2009

Film Review: 9 (2009)

Director: Shane Acker
Running time: 79 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12A

Watched at the cinema Saturday 31st October 2009.


Set in a post apocalyptic world where all life on Earth has been wiped out by machines, or rather one machine in particular. This film focuses on the efforts of a group of inventions, numbered 1 to 9, who try to redeem the scientist who made both them and the machine that destroyed the world. The machine has been dormant for many years, but one of its progeny, a mechanical cat-like creature protects its lair and takes anything that moves into the lair.

9 was the last of the scientist’s inventions, but he didn’t have time to animate him before he died. All of the previous inventions, 1 to 8 had already been released into the world. So we begin with 9 falling to the floor and becoming sentient. He explores his surroundings, the remains of the scientist’s lab, and finds a small device that he seems to think is important. He looks outside to see another like himself, but he is unable to call out, so he goes outside, taking the device with him, where he eventually finds 2 who gives him a voice. 2 tells him of the war, and how the machines had wiped out all life, apart from the 9. At this point they are attacked by ‘the cat’ who takes both 2 and the device back to its lair. 9 is now alone again, but is found by 5, who takes him back to the sanctuary where 1, 6 and 8 also live. 9 persuades 5 to help him go after 2. They battle with ‘the cat’, which is finally destroyed by 7, who luckily turns up at the last minute. 9 finds a socket that the device fits into, unfortunately, that socket is on ‘the machine’! This is where things get pretty intense for our heroes.

A beautifully made film with, I thought, a wonderful visual style. Decent performances from the voice talents of Christopher Plummer as 1, Martin Landau as 2, John C. Reilly as 5 Crispin Glover as 6, Jennifer Connelly as 7, Fred Tatasciore as 8 and the radio announcer and Elijah Wood as 9. The film did have some quite scary moments and some of the themes were quite grown up, so I wouldn’t recommend it for small children. The producers include Tim Burton, whose work I shouldn’t have to mention and Timur Bekmambetov, who has previously worked on Wanted (2008), Night Watch (2004) and Day Watch (2006). Given the pedigree of some of those involved, I expected a better film than the one I saw. Don’t get me wrong, it’s well worth the admission fee, but I feel it could have been so much better.

My score: 6.8/10

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