Wednesday, 28 October 2009

[253] 9 (dir. Shane Acker, 2009) Review

I was very torn over this film. Its visual style is incredibly impressive, but the narrative aspect just wasn't up to the challenge, sadly. (Check out the short here.)

What do you expect out of an animated film? Great ideas? Great stories? Quirky characters? Family entertainment? Wholesome messages for the toddlers of today? Wonderful aesthetics? Or a bit of everything? Best to think about this up front, because it will seriously effect your potential enjoyment of 9, the debut feature film from director Shane Acker.

Adapted from his genuinely brilliant Oscar-nominated animated short of the same name,
9 is a film bursting with visual ideas, but completely lacking in the narrative department. Central to the story are little rag-doll creations called stitchpunks, who roam a ruined, post-apocalyptic wasteland brought about by a major war between man and machine.

Over an opening narration, we are introduced to the world, where the 'blind pursuit of technology' cooked up man's downfall. All that is left are the stitchpunks - cute marriages of thread, cloth and metal who speak with the voices of Elijah Wood and Jennifer Connelly - and the Monster, a cat-like machine of bone and cogs.

The film follows the story of #9 (Wood), the youngest of the stitchpunks, who wakes in the workshop of a deceased scientist, and ventures out in the wide world. Along the way, he meets others like him, such as the kindly tinkerer #2 (Martin Landau), and the dopey, big-hearted #5 (John C. Reilly). When it comes to raw visuals and atmosphere through animation and design, Acker creates some wonderful, stunning and chilling work.

Read the full article here.

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