Starring: Elijah Wood, John C. Reilly, Christopher Plummer, Martin Landau, Jennifer Connelly, Crispin Glover, Fred Tatasciore, Alan Oppenheimer
Director: Shane Acker
Runtime: 80 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: December 29, 2009
In a time of war where humans fight against machines that then became self-aware, humanity battle for their very own survival. A hopeful scientist (Oppenheimer) gives life to nine little figurines that he created as a last hope for the humanity. After the apocalyptic ending to the human race all that is left in the world is the machines that were created by the humans and these nine little figures. As we begin, 9 (Wood), awakens and finds himself alone in the room where his maker had died and as he steps out into the ravaged world he is found by another one of his kind, 2 (Landau). After briefly befriending one another a vicious mechanical beast attacks both of them and 2 is taken away while 9 narrowly escapes.
As 9 wanders alone some more he comes to a building that several other figurines like him, 1 (Plummer), 5 (Reilly), 6 (Glover) and 8 (Tatasciore) take refuge in. 9 explains to them of what happened to 2 and is intent on getting him back. Acting as the unsaid leader, 1 insists that there is no hope for getting 2 back and that he is lost forever however, 9 doesn’t entirely believe 1 because it seems as though he knows more than he is leading on. In fact, of the four new figures 9 has encountered only one of them actually believes him, 5, who was seemingly a lot closer to 2, the figure who was taken, than the rest of them. Convinced that there still is hope for 2 they both set off to find him.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=3373&w=l[/img]In their quest to find 2 they run into a rogue figurine, 7 (Connelly), who seems entirely against following their current leader, 1, and is somewhat hesitant of their intentions to find 2. 5, 7, and 9’s journey leads to a factory where the mechanical beasts are produced. While their original objective to find 2 partially succeeded as they found that, in fact, he was lost forever, they uncovered more to their past along the way. As they return back to the others and tell of what they found 9 reaffirms that 1 knows much more. The figurines that are now left must join together to find out who they are and just what exactly happened.
I was really fascinated and intrigued to find out what would happen throughout the movie, however I found myself somewhat left with an unsatisfied feeling at the end of the movie. Resolutions were made, but ultimately it didn’t quite resolve my satisfaction. I was still thoroughly entertained and I am glad that I watched it, but I just couldn’t shake the feeling that something was lacking towards the end. In fact, I got the impression that it started out better than it ends. Overall, it was enjoyable enough to watch and I will likely have a repeat viewing, but it definitely isn’t one I am really rushing to watch again.
‘9’ is rated PG-13 for violence and scary images. Truthfully there was a good amount dark, creepy imagery that merit the rating it received. I would hesitate letting the younger crowd watch this movie. Most of the movie might be outside of their interest anyway.
The video transfer is simply stunning. ‘9’ sports a digital direct transfer that looks stunning in every way. The post-apocalyptic world sports a really drab and dreary world, but the environment is all, but drab to look at. Even in this world where destruction is littered all over, the detail found within is nearly overwhelming. The environments are not the only thing that really glimmer with detail, the individual characters in their burlap material have noticeable intricacies. While the world is bleak, the colors are far from; every place is teaming with colors, whether it’s bold reds or iridescent greens. Much of the movie also takes place in the dark where the contrast and depth of the transfer are given a chance to excel. The black levels are rich and further enhance the imagery of this film. All in all, there is nothing for me to nitpick about this transfer.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is nearly as impressive as the video transfer. I was surprised while watching this film to find out how dynamic the audio presentation was. It was almost scary because I wasn’t really expecting it really. There is a really strong presence from the low frequencies throughout the entire movie, and understandably so. For how little the characters are in this movie everything else in the world would be so much bigger, as well as they should sound a lot bigger. Metal creatures all have a solid heft to them and the weight is felt, literally, through the low frequencies. Surround sound is as big as the rest of the sound mix. Cavernous structures echo with sounds and subtleties. Dialog is easily heard even during the heightened action sequences.
Given ‘9’ being a Universal Studios film, they incorporated their usual ‘U-Control Experience’ to accompany the film that provides information about the film and inserts from the cast and crew. Other than that the list of extras are as follows:
-An audio commentary with Shane Acker, the director, and story lead Ryan O’Laughlin, animation director Joe Ksander, and editor Nick Kenway.
-‘9 – The Long and The Short of It’ – a documentary featuring interviews of many of the actors and some of the people behind the movie.
-‘9 – The Original Short’ – this started out as Shane Acker’s thesis project in school and eventually it led to the making of the full-length feature film.
-‘The Look of 9’ – An interesting featurette that goes into detail of the world of ‘9.’
-‘Acting Out’ – A little documentary of the animators acting and modeling for their animated characters.
-5 deleted scenes that are mostly roguh animations or storyboards that never got much further than that.
I enjoyed the film enough, although I can say that it wasn’t quite what I was expecting or even hoping for. I think there was a lot of potential behind it, but the realization didn’t quite make it there. My wife, on the other hand, was less than thrilled overall with this movie. I can see why this movie got the mixed reviews that it did, but it still won’t stop me from making at least some recommendation to check it out to see whether or not it’s your type of movie. The video transfer and audio mix are demo-worthy material alone and might just be worth the price of your rental.