3.0

9

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<em>9</em>

Release Date: Sept. 9
Director: Shane Acker
Writers: Acker, Pamela Pettler
Starring: Voices of Elijah Wood, John C. Reilly, Jennifer Connelly, Christopher Plummer, Crispin Glover, Martin Landau, Fred Tatasciore
Studio/Run Time: Focus Features, 79 mins.

Gorgeous animation, paper-thin plot

Here’s an original idea: We open on a post-Armageddon landscape, after a war between the humans and the machines.

It’s not Terminator, it’s 9, an animated film that’s most certainly not for children. The film follows nine survivors of the Apocalypse. They’re not humans; they’re dolls, made by a scientist to carry life past certain destruction.

Writer/director Shane Acker won a Student Academy Award for the animated short that spawned 9—but that acclaim didn’t translate to full-length prowess. The film’s potential only adds to the disappointment. An hour too short, 9 blithely constructs and then disregards its own mythology. The film raises some potentially fascinating questions—What happens after people? What is the substance of the human soul?—but buries them in explosions, scary creatures, a painfully formulaic message, trite dialogue, and a strangely episodic narrative structure that renders the whole thing exhausting.