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Masand's Movie Review: 9 is visually stunning

Sep 12, 2009 12:51 AM IST India India
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Cast: Eljiah Wood, Christopher Plummer, Jennifer Connelly, John C Reilly, Martin Landau

Director: Shane Acker

Animation film 9, directed by Shane Acker, is a bleak apocalyptic tale in which a ragtag group of doll-like creatures appear to be the only survivors on a ruined landscape that's obliterated of humans. These creatures have survived a horrible devastation in which the world's technology and machinery attacked mankind. Our heroes, who come with numbers instead of names, are hiding in fear of being next in line.

Eljiah Wood voices the protagonist of this story, 9, a jute-woven critter with a funky zipper up the front, who stumbles on an underground community of others like him, hiding from the terrifying machinery that's still wreaking havoc on Earth. Younger and braver than the others, 9 persuades his fellow survivors to come out of hiding and fight back the machines.

A full-length feature version of an 11-minute short film that won the director a Student Academy Award, 9 has some stylishly haunting visuals and innovative animation too, but the plot leaves a lot to be desired, comes as it does with repetitive action scenes and indifferent characterization. Veteran actors like Christopher Plummer, Jennifer Connelly, John C Reilly and Martin Landau lend their vocal talents to the other characters made out of different materials.

Despite its novelty, "9" is often boring at a running time of 90-minutes and there are long stretches you're likely to find yourself snoring through.

Produced by Tim Burton and Russian filmmaker Timur Bekmambetov who were impressed enough by Acker's short film to commission this feature version, 9 is imaginative and visually stunning. But you need real patience to appreciate its full intentions. I'm going with two out of five for director Shane Acker's 9. Watch it if you're an animation junkie; there's much to be pleased about.

Rating: 2 / 5 (Average)

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