Not quite a "9" out of ten

Many people have been really excited about the release of the new animated movie “9.” Like anything Tim Burton is attached to, there is an instant curiosity and fanbase. So with this buzz, some great actors providing their voices and a movie that looks like it’s going to be unique and beautiful, it seemed like “9” was a safe bet. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite live up to the hype.

The voice acting is truly great. Elijah Woods puts forth his top tier performance as the titular character of the production. At no point is there ever a feel of these are actors just wanting an easy paycheck, so they show up to do some voice overs in the jammies. John C. Reilly especially shines as 5 and gives possibly the most memorable performance in the entire movie.

Visually, this movie is very appealing. Though maybe nothing too special by today’s ever raising standards, the movie had no harm done by the computer effects. The world is very stylized and had a great World War 1 kind of feel to it. Each of the characters, while all animated rag dolls, have distinct looks and behaviors which is a true credit to the visual designers and the animators. There is never a point where you’re getting the characters confused in all the action.

What this movie really comes down to is being a good movie with sadly nothing really special to offer the viewer. The story, while creative in it’s characters, falls short of being anything original. It’s standard sci-fi/fantasy fare with creature turning on creator and creator trying to atone for his creation. This easily could have been a plot to a Terminator movie if you removed the ragdolls. Also, there is very little change to this world through out the course of the movie. Without getting too much into spoilers, your mind might start to wonder “Would this world have been better off if 9 had just never woke up?” Then by the end of it, the world is only a slightly better place, if it’s even better off at all. There are some creepy “bad guys,” but clever character design is not a proper substitute for an original and engaging story.

I’m not sure if the people working at the studio thought that too much plot would confuse people or if this version of the movie truly is Shane Acker’s vision, but it just seems like there should be a lot more plot meat on this story bone. There was actually a point that really seemed like a natural end to the movie, but it then insists on saying “NO! WAIT! There’s more here! Look! More stuff needs to happen to these characters you only moderately care about!”

Overall, I would say it’s a 2.5 out of 5. It’s not bad, it’s not great. The general opinion of the group of people I saw it with was it’s just missing something. It was only a few steps away from being special, but it will likely be forgotten in it’s current form. It seems to be a clear rental.

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