14 March 2010

9 is the magic number!

9 - Shane Acker

With the name of Tim Burton and the director of Nightwatch, Daywatch and Wanted, Timur Bekmambetov placed across posters and trailers, the advertising company behind Shane Acker’s feature length debut 9, have made it clear that these names will draw in more people, but it should be Acker’s name that is bold and clear, because he’s a talent for the future. Famous for short animations, where this feature length is based on, 9 is a superb debut in the animation field, where it looks and sounds like a veteran piece and it’s something new to the genre of mainstream animation. Having a large release in cinemas, it had a chance to showcase a different style of animation not seen before and have a very mature storyline. It’s not Disney or Pixar, it’s a magical world seen through the eyes of creations made by humans. It’s the end of the world, the end of mankind and all that is left are tiny puppets that are left to build humanity. It’s a story of hope and sacrifice and it’s refreshing to have that in cinemas and especially animation, where anything is possible, just look at my previous reviews of Ponyo and UP.

The plot follows 9 robot-like “Stitchpunks” that are trying to survive in the world where everyone is dead except for machines which have come back to life to destroy them. A war between man and machine erupted before they were born and thus the environment around him is decaying and broken. The latest creation 9 meets the rest of them and tries to put right his mistakes and save them from the machines clutches. It has a great build up of action having smaller scenes leading into the main sequence with the queen machine. It has a great ending, sad but defiantly up-lifting. It comes across as having a meaning without shoving it down your throat which sometimes animation films do.

Overall a simple story, which some might criticise as being too simple or not having a deeper meaning to it, but i understand the film, and i understand the decision to not have undertones or sub plots to it. It’s a small package and its nice for a change. The sound here is perfect, i really can’t fault it, from the soundtrack to the sounds of everything including the clogs and material of the characters, everything sounds crisp. Truly a great a job done with sound, but the voice acting is lacking, but mainly because of the script. The action takes centre stage so the dialogue is only used for plot forwarding in parts. Go out and see this film, it’s different...in a good way.


Simon Childs

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