Skip to main content

Review: 9

A compassionate doctor leaves his legacy on a world destroyed by a war between man and machine, through these nine hand-stitched puppets the doctor lives on.

9 (Elijah Wood) wakes up in a daze, there are no humans left in this post-war world. 9 is not alone though, he has eight predecessors to keep him company. 1 (Christopher Plummer) is the de facto leader of the group, but 7 (Jennifer Connelly) often subverts his will. The rest of the cast are unique, but only in voice, their appearance is hard to tell apart in the more harried scenes.

9, against 1's wishes, wants to explore the regions surrounding their home. He eventually convinces the others, but not at the cost of losing one of their ranks on the trip back.

The doctor created these puppets to create some semblance of goodwill, but the puppets' world is dominated by a misanthropic entity called the Beast. The Beast is the leftover from a Dictator and 1-9 worry for the fate of the doll who didn't make it home. The Beast is rumored to steal souls.

A talented voice cast consisting of Elijah Wood, Jennifer Connelly, John C. Reilly, Martin Landau and Christopher Plummer strive to give their characters a sense of life, but most of the concern of the story is placed on the red-eyed monsters that plague the nine burlap sack dolls.

Too adult to be a child's film and too child-like for adults to enjoy, 9's market audience will be hard to find. Director Shane Acker really seems to care about the characters hounded by evil machines in a post-apocalyptic future but the love he shares doesn't quite make it to the audience.

Adapting a short to a feature-length film is difficult and the filler scenes that make up 9's short runtime are pretty monotonous. Venturing from one occupied territory to another should be more entertaining. Here, Acker could really get into visual flourish, but the sequences feel copy and pasted.

Apparently the film is much better film under the influence though. The row sitting behind me in the theatre got quite a kick out of the characters' name being numbers. Another scene where 6 (Crispin Glover) sits and massages his head with a magnet hit them in stitches.

Between this, Whiteout and Tyler Perry's latest movie, it's been a slow week for film. It may be a better use of time to go through your home collections and watch something you have been putting off for a while.

*1/2 out of ****

Popular posts from this blog

Hulk vs. The Incredible Hulk vs. The Avengers

There are two movies about the Hulk and one that features the green monster as a major player. One was made in 2003 by an auteur, starring a little-known Aussie. Five years later The Incredible Hulk came out to the same tepid reaction as Ang Lee's Hulk did. This weekend, The Avengers made the Hulk as popular as he has been in a long time. So it comes down to this: Hulk vs. Hulk vs. Hulk. Who will smash whom?

Round One: Acting
Edward Norton outshines Eric Bana as the dual persona of the meek Bruce Banner and the rage-induced Hulk. Eric Bana was given little to do but run and fight and often the audience was just waiting for him to transform. With the Incredible Hulk, Norton's Banner is fully fleshed-out and we are given a reason to care about him. Being allowed to go a little dark with Banner's scenes questioning what is left of his life provided emotional resonance to the character that Hulk lacked. Yet even with the capable performance that Norton gives there was something …

Review: The Salvation

Westerns have never recovered from the oversaturation that killed off viewer interest decades ago, but every now and then a gem pops up. Recent successes like The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, 2007’s 3:10 to Yuma and the Coen brothers adaptation of True Grit all did well because they tweaked the genre slightly, but director Kristian Levring goes with an old school approach. A faithful recreation of those revenge Westerns made so popular in the 1970s, The Salvation envelopes many elements of previous Clint Eastwood classics and wraps it into a tidy package.

The Salvation starts in on the central dilemma, joining Jon (Hannibal‘s Mad Mikkelsen) at the train station where he awaits the arrival of his wife and son. Jon and his brother, Peter (Mikael Persbrandt), have lived in the United States long enough to build a hospitable life for their family back in Denmark. This homecoming should be a sweet moment to establish the family important to Jon, but fate plays out…

Review: The Voices

Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) spends his days working the nine-to-five shift at his new job at the Milton Bathtub Factory. Jerry is chipper to the point that he may turn some people off, but he never stops trying to make friends. Friends are something that Jerry could use because the only other conversation he has is with his dog Bosco and his cat Mr. Whiskers. Things are looking up though, Jerry has been tasked with planning the company picnic and he’s asked a girl (Gemma Arterton) out on a date. Jerry is so excited to share the news he rushes home to tell his pets about Fiona. Oddly enough, both Bosco and Mr. Whiskers start talking back.

No need to go back and re-read that last sentence, yes, Ryan Reynolds has pets who talk back to him. His dog, Bosco, is quite affable, however, his cat, Mr. Whiskers, would feel right at home curled in the lap of Blofeld. Unfortunately for everyone around him, it’s the advice of the evil cat that Jerry heeds more often than not. For all of Jerry’s pleasant…