9 awakens, he is a homemade rag doll in an abandoned unkept apartment with his maker lying lifeless on the floor. He walks outside into a desolate world of destruction and remains. He gradually encounters eight others like him who have to band together to fend off evil robots that have only one purpose and that is to destroy the living.
Elijah Wood must really enjoy leading a group of nine during perilous times to destroy evil. That seems like an oddly specific request but he has managed to find another film outside of Lord of the Rings to do just that. Wood voices our hero 9 among the large ensemble. Each of the nine are similar in creation but clearly distinctively different in personality and look giving us great characters to care about. The world created is dark and most of the nine do not end with their original life. Although even using the term “original” is slightly inaccurate. Jennifer Connelly is 7, the athletic fighter. Christopher Plummer is 1, the oldest and terrified leader. Then we have Martin Landau as 2 the inventor and healer. 3 and 4 are silent child like twins. 5 is a tender hearted John C Reilly who is unsure of the right answers. Crispen Glover is 6 who seems to have some secret knowledge of their world and Fred Tatasciore is 8 as the strong bodyguard type.
The visuals and world created are fascinating full of strange detail and oddness. Surprisingly filled with some very intense action, the story is intriguing but slightly empty. I like that not everything is explained but I don’t like that it poses questions and gives answers that doesn’t seem fully realized. Basically, I was confused at the end of the film’s purpose. A film doesn’t have to always have some great meaning, but it feels like this one was attempting to do that, thinking it is more important than it actually is. I did, however, enjoyed this world that was created. I haven’t decided if I’m frustrated or impressed but if I’m not sure then that probably means I lean towards the frustration part by the decision to make our hero the cause and savior of the problem. Is he really the savior? Did he make the world better or worse? All questions that I would love to discuss further.
Tim Burton is one of the producers, which is well fitting for this dark and twisted world created by Shane Acker. Based on the Academy Award nominated short by the same name, 9 expands in on this world. I think it might be better as a short and tries a little too hard to have that deeper meaning. Nonetheless, 9 creates an extremely original world that I enjoyed getting to know.