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The International Writers Magazine - Film Space Archives

9 - Directed by Shane Acker
Screenplay Pamela Pettler
Produced by Tim Burton
Starring the voices of Elija Wood, John C Reilly, Christpher Plummer, Crispin Clover, Jennifer Connelly and Martin Laundau
Sam North review

If someone is in charge of marketing 9 in the UK they should be taken out and shot. This is simply the most amazing, wonderful, visually stunning and thrilling movie of the year and even though I am happy to vote for ‘UP’ as the best animation, this beats the pants off any adult action movie that you care to mention. It is simply awesome in the old fashioned sense.

There are strong influences and you are channeling ‘The Third Man’ set in the devastation of post-war Europe, and Delicatessan – a post-nuclear devastated France.

Yet these are curious battle scarred chain mail dolls you are worried about. Never mind a scientist breathing his soul into these dolls and giving them life, the director and writer have breathed soul and magic into a post-apocalyptic world and instead of Arnie going there to wreak destruction and mayhem, it is one curious doll number 9 who sets of a chain of events from the moment of his ‘birth’. That the scientist who created them had to die to give them life is a noble tragic touch and this film is no Pinocchio. It is not cute, but it is gripping, exciting, with a fantastic sound track from Danny Elfman.

9 is voiced by Elija Wood who is the curious one, 1, voiced by Christopher Plummer the conservative Archbishop who hides out in the ruined Cathedral, 8 is voiced by John C Reilly and isn’t too bright but he is the protector, six voiced by Crispin Glover is the mad visionary, 5, voiced by Fred Tatsciore is the healer, 2 voiced by Martin Landau the frail one who seems to embody the scientist who gave them life and 7 voiced by Jennifer Connelly who is the brave one, the girl who is the smartest one of all. 3 and 4 are twins, the scholars who communicate with projected film.

The story is a quest. First to find 2 who has been stolen by the bird like machine and dragged to the three towers where the machine lurks, the enemy of all life.

9, curious to a fault has brought with him a talisman from the scientists lab which has curious symbols on it. When they find their way into the monsters lair it is 9 who accidentally brings the evil machine back to life and sets in train a whole new reign of terror.

From this moment on it is a constant battle between the tiny dolls and the most vicious machine that sucks the very souls from the dolls.

This film cost $30 million to make and seems to have been snuck out on one screen in the south of England without fanfare and yet it is truly fantastic. To be sure it might scare the pants off anyone under seven years of age, but the kids in the audience I was in survived and had the time of their lives.

Save 9 from oblivion. Find it, make a special journey to see in on a big screen for find on one of the streamer channels. Adult or child it will be the most rewarding cinema experience of the year.

© Sam North Nov 1st 2009
Sam is the author of Another Place to Die: The Endtime Chronicles


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